Posted on Wed, Sep 29, 2004
A Great Testimony by Dr. Robert Schuller
Tough Times Never Last; Tough People Do -- by Robert Schuller
My daughter Carol lost her leg in a motorcycle accident in 1978. At the
time, Mrs.Schuller and I were in Korea. On the long trip back to Iowa, I searched
for the rightthing to say. What would my first words to Carol be?
When we arrived at the hospital, I was shocked. Carol lay in her
bed in intensive care, her body bruised, broken, and disfigured.
But her spirits were whole and healthy. Immediately she solved the
problem of what to sayby speaking first: "I know why it happened, Dad. God wants to use me tohelp others whohave been hurt."
It was this spirit that carried her through seven months of
hospitalization, intravenous feedings, and consequent collapsed
veins. This positive attitude gave her the courage to fight a
new drug was released by the FDA. (It was the right drug at the
right time - a real miracle.) It was that same positive attitude
that helped Carol make the transition from hospital patient to a
handicapped" member of a family and school - and to feel normal
and whole again.
The last picture we have of Carol with both legs is one taken when she
was in hersoftball uniform. The athlete of the family, Carol loves to play
softball. The summer after her accident, she shocked me by saying, "Dad, I'm going to sign upfor softballagain this year."
"That's great," I responded, not wanting to discourage her.
At that time, Carol's artificial leg was attached just below the
knee, which was so stiff she could barely bend it at a
thirty-degree angle. She walked very stiffly; running was out of
the question. However, I took her to the local school where all the
parents were liningup with their daughters to register for the girls' softball team. Carolsigned up andwent to check out her uniform.
As she swung her stiff plastic leg into the car and rested her
jersey, socks, and cap in her lap, I turned to her and said,
"Carol, how do you expect to play ball if you can't run?"
With flashing eyes, she snapped back, "I've got that all figured
out, Dad! When you hit home runs, you don't have to run." My
daughter is tough. She's a survivor. She hit enough home runs that
season to justify her
presence on the team!
Carol inspired everyone with her tenacity, too. She had six
surgeries after that first amputation. Later, she took up skiing
and won a gold medal in the qualifying races that admitted her to that
elite corps of skiers participating in the National Ski
Championships. In March 1983, she pulled her goggles on and took
her place among the champions of her country - at the young age of
eighteen! Yes, she still walked with a limp. She drew curious looks from strangers. But her positive attitude and determination helped her even with that.
Several years ago, our family was privileged to be guests of the
American-Hawaiian Steamship Company on a one-week cruise of the
Hawaiian Islands. It was absolutely beautiful. During the trip,
Carol was not in the least ashamed to be seen in shorts or swimming
attire although her artificial leg covered her stump to just below the hip. But she was
very conscious of the fact that people looked at her out of the corners of their eyes and wondered what had happened to her.
On this cruise, it was customary on the last night to have a talent
in which the
passengers participated. Carol, then seventeen years old, surprised us
by saying, "I'm
going to be in the talent show tonight." Now, Carol doesn't sing, and
doesn't dance. So, naturally, I was curious as to what she would do.
Friday night, my
wife and I sat in the lounge along with six hundred other people. The
stage was set in
the big glorified cocktail lounge. As you can imagine, it was a very
The first acts performed were typical of amateur talent shows. Then it
was Carol's turn.
She came on stage wearing neither shorts nor Hawaiian garb, but a
full-length dress. She
looked beautiful. Walking up to the
thought this would be a good chance for me to give what I think I owe
you all - an
explanation. I know you've been looking at me all week, wondering about
my fake leg. I
thought I should tell you what happened.
"I was in a motorcycle accident. I almost died, but the doctors
kept giving me blood, and my pulse came back. They amputated my leg
below the knee, and
later, they amputated through the knee. I spent seven months in the
hospital - seven
months with intravenous antibiotics to fight infection."
She paused a moment, then continued. "If I've one talent, it's
this: During that time, my faith became very real to me."
Suddenly a hush swept over the lounge. The waitresses stopped
serving drinks. The glasses stopped clinking. Every eye was focused on
seventeen-year-old blonde. She said, "I look at you girls who walk
without a limp, and I
wish I could walk that way. I can't, but this is what I've learned, and
I want to leave
it with you: It's not how you walk that counts, but who walks with you
and with whom you
Then she paused and said, "I'd like to sing a song about my friend, my
Lord." And she
And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am
His own, and the joy we share in our time of prayer (originally,
"as we tarry there") None other has ever known.
"Thank you." And she stepped down.
There was not a dry eye, not a life that wasn't touched that night. By
holding on, digging in, and making the most of what happened to her, Carol taught
me one of the greatest lessons I've ever learned: Tough times never last, but tough
When tough times come, we need to hold on
until the tide turns for the better, to tenaciously dig in and
bloom where we are planted, and to inspire peohen tough times come, we need to take tough action, to hold onW
ple with our cheerful and
attitude. In the process, other people will be stimulated to choose
noble and positive
outlooks for their lives too.
"Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye
that hope in the LORD." -Psalm 31:24