There’s an old saying that life is 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we respond. Who says that you have to be disappointed about your problems and failures? Who says you can’t look at them in a way that makes you stronger? This story is about a young burn victim who gets a lesson in perspective from his doctor.
7-year-old Darren stood beside his hospital bed, glumly looking out the window. It was a sunny day, and he could see a few people relaxing on benches or walking around. As he observed the outdoors, he caught a glimpse of his reflection in the window. He scowled at what he saw and tried to focus on the water fountain that was several stories below.
The door opened, and in walked Dr. Cary.
“Hey, Darren,” he said brightly. The boy glanced at the man, then wordlessly turned his attention back to the window. “How are you feeling today?” The doctor heard an intelligible reply as he sat on a chair across from his patient.
“When you gonna fix me?” Darren asked after a long pause.
“I’m afraid I won’t be able to fix you for another few days.”
The frustrated boy sighed and intentionally checked his reflection in a nearby mirror.
Darren’s house caught fire several nights ago. Upon being rescued, he rushed back inside to retrieve his baby brother. In the process, Darren’s face and right arm were badly burned. Before the fire, he had lots of hair. The fire burned most of it off, and the little that remained was cut by the doctors. Part of his right ear was also burned.
Dr. Cary prepared for yet another day of moping from the child. It was then he noticed the Avengers action figures on Darren’s food tray. “You like super heroes, huh?”
“Uh-huh,” Darren mumbled.
“Iron Man. Incredible Hulk. Batman.”
“Do you ever pretend to be a super hero?”
“What if I told you you ARE a super hero?”
“Super heroes ain’t real. They’re only on TV. I don’t even look like a super hero. I look more like a monster.”
“Incredible Hulk looks like a monster. He’s a super hero, isn’t he?”
Darren said nothing.
“You saved a baby’s life. that makes you a super hero. You even have the battle scars to prove it.”
Darren finally turned around and looked at Dr. Cary in wonder. “Battle scars?”
“Yes. Super heroes often come home with the scars of a big fight. It proves that they had a tough battle, but they were tougher. You were tougher than the fire. You were even tougher than the big firefighters who had their super suits and gadgets on.”
Darren let that perspective sink in for a moment, then nodded. “The firemen didn’t want my parents to go back in for Brian.”
“See? And Brian is okay, right? Because of you?”
“Yeah,” Darren replied with a hint of a smile.
“See? You ARE a super hero.”
Darren’s mind rushed to think of more comparisons to super heroes.
“I just realized: a bunch of super heroes got their powers by accident.”
“There you go. Your house was on fire by accident.”
“And… I became a super hero because of that accident.”
Darren had a full smile at this point.
“When Brian gets older, he’ll look up to you the way you look up to Iron Man, Incredible Hulk, and Batman. But there’s just one difference.”
“What? What’s the difference?”
“Those super heroes are only on TV. Brian has a real life super hero for a brother. While his friends show off their toys, he can show you off to his friends and tell them all about how his hero rescued him.”
By the time the doctor left, Darren was feeling much happier about his looks.
Make a nice day!