Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Unreasonable

(Julie wrote the following after reading an article in Arizona Highways magazine.)

Unreasonable - not governed by or acting according to reason; not comformable to reason; exceeding the bounds of reason or moderation.

Is unreasonableness necessarily bad, as I was taught? When is it good? What do I miss when I stop at that familiar boundary? Could my life be better if I dared to be unreasonable?

I read today of a young man who broke his back in a 1993 Army training accident. He became paralyzed from the midchest down but retains full use of his arms and shoulders. He uses what muscle power he has to propel himself down hiking trails and up mountainsides on a special bike that allows him to be the active outdoorsman he was before the accident. He is so active that, in 2003, he suffered a broken neck in a ski-jumping accident. I can't imagine the mechanics of a paraplegic ski-jumping, but my automatic reaction is, "that is unreasonable!"

My reaction is not unique, as evidenced by the story of a time he was confronted by another hiker on a challenging trail and told how unreasonable it was to be there and that he should go someplace more reasonable.

Is it unreasonable for this young man to challenge himself to these limits? Does he harm others in the process?

An argument could be made that he is costing the medical system undue expense by risking additional injury. So, that is a point on the side of reasonableness. Just to be completely fair, I'll also say that he causes his loved ones anxiety by embracing his chosen lifestyle. So, two points for reason.

On the flip side, he is a vibrant man with many friends. He established a nonprofit organization that introduced the disabled to outdoor sports and wilderness adventures. In this modern world where we are bombarded with unhealthy pressure to emulate celebrities or to chase the all-mighty dollar, how can you measure the positive impact of his example and inspiration to others? And his loved ones? Their anxiety would be immeasurable if he had given up on the lifestyle that defined him before the accident and settled for a safety that would susrely sap body and spirit.

Two pathetic points for reasonableness while the positive affects of his unreasonableness cannot be measured. Unreasonableness is a clear winner in this case. Change comes slowly for a gal my age with entrenched reasonableness but I feel a pull to boldly go where I've never gone before.

I recently gave the worst interview of my life for a job which would have thrown me back into the world of full-time. After recovering from my embarrassment and sense of failure, I looked for lessons to be learned. Today, I found my first. My summer at home provides more time to contemplate life's mysteries. I'm unreasonably grateful.

2 Comments:

Blogger THE Michael said...

I personally have "suffered" the consequences of standing on principle more than once in my life. Yes, I could have swallowed my pride or acted as though nothing had happened, but I chose instead to live with myself and without regret. I look back on those decisions and although I fully understand I might have benefited by "going along", I live in my skin much more comfortably than I might have if I had given in and taken the path of least resistance.

If you can personally live with the consequences of your actions, I say do it. Just make sure that those who had no say in that decision don't have to pay a more hefty price than you do.

"An it harm NONE, do as you will"

5/19/2010 05:24:00 PM  
Blogger Kathryn Grace said...

Beautifully said, Julie. Thank you for sharing your experiences. This is the first time I can recall catching one of your posts. I'd like to see more!

5/19/2010 11:56:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home