A man named Neil Selinger — 57 years old, a retired lawyer — had joined the writers group at Sarah Lawrence where he found his writer’s voice. Two years later, he was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. It’s a terrible disease. It’s fatal. It wastes the body, but the mind remains intact. In this article, Mr. Selinger wrote the following to describe what was happening to him. And I quote,
“As my muscles weakened, my writing became stronger. As I slowly lost my speech, I gained my voice. As I diminished, I grew. As I lost so much, I finally started to find myself.“
It’s not having experiences that make us wise, it’s reflecting on the experiences that we’ve had that makes us wise — and that helps us become whole, brings wisdom and authenticity. It helps us become what we might have been.