Feb 13, 2012 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

It’s always hard to believe in yourself or in what you’re doing when others are telling you that it’s impossible or that it can’t be done. I know what positive and negative comments and reactions can do to someone. I have experienced them both. We all have.

Had I not had the belief and support from my family, especially by beautiful wife, Shondell, I would not be where I am today. Even in the darkest moments of despair, she has always been “the wind beneath my wings.”

Christopher Reeve felt the same way. He refused to accept the fact that doctors and medical scientists looked at spinal-cord injuries as hopeless. At that time, research in this field was considered a dead-end street. They actually referred to it as ‘the graveyard of neurobiology.’

He refused to accept this; he believed differently.

He advocated that doctors remove the word hopeless from their vocabulary. He understood the negative impact of the word, having been told his desire to regain any mobility was just that. Reeves refused to accept his diagnosis and, when he recovered sufficiently, began speaking out.

He had insisted that medical professionals change their attitudes and the way they speak to those suffering spinal cord and other catastrophic injury. Research should not be reckless but it does not need to be fearless.

Superman did get resistance. Many in the medical profession felt that Reeve was giving false hope. They felt patients needed to face the “reality” of their circumstances and get on with their lives from a “realistic” perspective.

Our super hero pushed back with something that could withstand the power of kryptonite: the power of hope and belief. Some called it false hope. Even if it is, which would be worse – false hope or false hopelessness?

I understand why medical professionals wish to be real with their patients. I do. But what is reality? Do we really know how high the human spirit can rise when it spreads the wings of hope?

Hopelessness is deadly kryptonite. It saps your strength. It leaves you weak and helpless. I, too, have gained power from hope. As a result, I began to believe in me.

Many times, I dream that I am walking on a beach with Shondell. I see us strolling side by side on a Hawaiian beach where she once struggled to push my wheelchair through resistant sand.

I have been accused of being unrealistic. I am complimented by that accusation. I have seen the power of hope turn dreams into goals and transform goals into reality – the reality of hope.

I hold that dream of walking on the beach with my sweetheart in a sacred place in my heart. I let that vision work its magic, making more meaningful the simple things I do every day – things I was never supposed to be able to do.

These simple things have empowered me to travel the world and make a real difference in the lives of other people. Perhaps someday the simple things will allow me to walk on that beach with my sweetheart.

“What matters is not the idea a man holds, but the depth at which he holds it”
Ezra Pound