Everybody Has a Cross

I was flipping around on C-SPAN on the web the other night and found Brian Lamb interviewing Charles Krauthammer, a syndicated columnist at the Washington Post. Krauthammer is a fascinating guy on multiple levels, but some of his comments about his diving accident 30 years ago that left him a paraplegic really stuck with me.

LAMB: I don’t know about if you mind telling the story, but what happened in the diving accident?

KRAUTHAMMER: Very simple, I hit the bottom of the pool with my head and it caused no injury except a breaking of the spinal cord.

LAMB: What was the reaction to that when it happened to you, I mean, during that time?

KRAUTHAMMER: Well, being a medical student and that week studying neurology, which was rather ironic, the book I had with me when I was hurt was neuro-anatomy. I knew exactly what happened the second it happened. And I knew exactly what the consequences were and I knew what the future was. And I think that was a help to me, because I never had any illusions.

LAMB: Is there anything that you think has been different about your life because of this condition

KRAUTHAMMER: Oh, I think everything. I mean, when I was in my teens I spent 80 percent of my waking hours doing sports. That doesn’t happen anymore. So I missed out on … ­ ­ I mean, there are a lot of things that you lose, but on the other hand, Brian, everybody has their cross. Everybody has a cross.

Mine is a particularly obvious one, a difficult one. But, you know, I never asked the question, “why me?” I mean, why not me? Everybody else ­ ­ you know, we all have our tragedies. I got in mine early. In fact, as I age, and my friends are aging, some of them are in one way or other joining me. And I’ve had 30 years of practice. So I’ve got a head’s up.

“Everybody has their cross.” This is so true. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t live with serious challenges of one sort or another — especially when you dig down under the surface. Every day brings joy and pain. I have my fair share of both. Family members have theirs. Friends theirs.

Attitude is the key, though, and I like this guy’s attitude.


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