Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

October 8, 2017

Everyone Finds What They’re Looking For

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 11:49 am

In a brain injury blog, where so many of us struggle daily with our brain-damaged memory function, it’s almost comical to write, Everyone Finds What They’re Looking For…

But it’s true.

We’ve had a tough few months of natural disasters.  A slew of devastating hurricanes, earthquakes and wild fires.  Millions fleeing homes only to return to nothing.  Millions more without power, without clean water, food or neighborhood versions of normal with schools and churches and stocked, well-operating shops.

There is the back and forth banter between the leaders of the United States and of North Korea.

Also, recently, the huge media-saturated coverage of NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem and the horrible shooting tragedy in Las Vegas.

There’s been a lot of stuff to consider, to decide within ourselves, to post opinions about and to discuss at dinner tables and around water coolers.

Everyone Finds What They’re Looking For.

Some will consider the natural disasters just par for the course during a regular hurricane season.  Some will enlist those disasters to back up their rallying cries of a warming, increasingly-unstable planet.  Some are checking their bibles and searching the skies for locusts as they become more convinced that all of these hurricanes, earthquakes and fires signal the end of the world.

Between the United States and North Korea, some will sound alarms that we are headed for nuclear war.  Others will consider both leaders’ rhetoric to be, largely, just the saber-rattling of school-yard boys.

Witnesses to the NFL players’ kneeling during the National Anthem will split into groups of self-proclaimed patriots who are offended and First Amendment advocates who staunchly defend the right to peacefully protest.

The fallout from the horrible shooting in Las Vegas will become less of a human story and more a political one as people on both sides of the gun rights debate shine a spotlight on this tragedy as evidence of their particular stance.

Everyone Finds What They Are Looking For.

There will always be evidence, in any given situation, to support what we believe.  That is the common thread in a tangled mess of conflict in an ever-increasingly, complex world.

Closer, more intimately, each of us will suffer hardships and setbacks with regard to our brain injuries, our relationships and our positions in our families and our communities.

Everyone will find what they’re looking for.

Maybe more than ever, we are now bombarded with the overwhelming opportunities to take a look at what it is exactly we are looking for and see if, maybe, THAT needs to change…

What do they say?  Two is coincidence and three is a pattern?

Each of us has to decide, for ourselves, how we will slant the experiences in our lives and the events in our world.  We have to take in, sort, identify and categorize all that affects us.

What is the goal?

A long time ago I chose my goal.  I want to be peaceful and optimistic.  I want to keep moving toward a gentle light and away from the drama and fear of the dark.  I want to believe that good people, all full of light, will always rise to the top and help to propel us forward from the hardest of times.

And so I find what I’m looking for, too.

In all of those horrendous natural disasters and, too, the shooting in Las Vegas, I focus on the people who, time and time again, chose to help strangers.  From California to Houston, from Mexico to Florida and from Puerto Rico to a country concert in Las Vegas, first responders in the form of police, fire, paramedics, rescue dogs, hospital and morgue staffs all chose to find what they were looking for, too.

A chance to save lives.  A chance to save homes and communities.  A chance to heal victims or comfort victims’ families.

Beyond them are uncountable volunteers in shelters and on-scene to assist however they could and can.  Neighbors helping neighbors.  Ordinary people offering their communities hoses to help put out fires, boats to help find survivors, shops and cars to shelter during a hail of bullets.

What did you look for and what did you find?

Opinions are a dime a dozen.  They are as diverse and changing and particular as style and fashion.  In the end, when it comes to your injury and how it affects your life, only your opinion has the power to make better and to invite improvement.

If your goal is to find evidence that this brain injury has ruined your life, you will find that evidence.  If your goal is to stay convinced that this injury is only about what you cannot do any longer, then you will find that evidence, too.

But if your goal is to uncover evidence that this injury is not stronger than the good of you, you will be amazed at how much of that evidence exists.  And if your goal is to live an enriched life that invites new people, new experiences and new abilities, you will find that evidence too.

What is it exactly you are searching for?  Decide carefully because you WILL find it.



  1. Excellent message that assists in leveling the experiences of all lives; head injured or not, we all have pain, fear and sadness with which to deal. I’ve learned that through disasters in my life and others that there are always lessons revealed if one looks deeply. Thank you for the necessary reminder.

    Comment by Sandy — October 8, 2017 @ 5:25 pm | Reply

    • You are awesome and I love your message. Thank you for making my day, Sandy. :))))))

      Comment by karaswanson — October 9, 2017 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  2. I totally agree with what you say about finding what you’re looking for. I have learned throughout life that people see the same circumstances differently depending on what they are focused on. Briefly…I live with a TBI survivor. It’s been 19 months. His face was hit with a great amount of force while at work, breaking almost every bone in his face and the front bones of his skull, damaging his carotid arteries, optic nerve, and causing frontal lobe brain damage. We are amazed he even survived, let alone recovering as much as he has. He is an amazing man, and I love him dearly. People have told me “You aren’t married. You don’t have to stay.” Although I understand what they are saying, we had already talked about and planned on getting married. I DID, in fact, “sign up” for this in my heart even though the ring is not on my finger. Of course, the injury has made marriage lesser on the list of priorities, and that also hurts and causes its own struggles. Anyway…I digress. I had to give a deposition for the company he was working for when his accident happened, and I was asked to give examples of ways he was different, or struggled, on a day-to-day basis. I got a calendar specifically to write down daily the obstacles we faced. I had to stop. I became depressed and angry when I had to write down and focus on the “bad things.” And some days, honestly, it is hard to NOT focus on the things that make me want to scream. But, I choose to focus on the good things most days. I do lay awake at night much of the time and ache for the man I fell in love with. I don’t know how to (or whether I should) let go of that man. Some days, I see glimpses of him. He laughed the other day. What startled me about it was how foreign it had become. To hear his deep laugh and see his eyes light up. We haven’t had many days like it since, but it reminded me that the man I loved was still in there somewhere. My frustration is that I have researched all I can and have found no help for him locally. And I feel isolated. And alone. Our area doesn’t have much for TBI here, and we have tried what is available with no improvement. I don’t talk to friends about it, because, somehow voicing what I feel inside seems a betrayal of the man I love. I do not want others to see him in any negative light. Even with the injury, I see a man who is better than many men that have no brain injury! But yet, that does not stop me from longing for the sensitive, loving, playful man I loved. I miss him. So much. I remember saying “He just makes life easier.” And now…even what should be easy becomes more difficult than it should be. His tone is harsh and he almost refuses to listen to me, as if he has to prove his competence. And how do you explain some of these things to people who have never experienced it? It sounds ungrateful. I realize how extremely blessed we are that he has healed as remarkably as he has! But I do miss our life before. I guess I am just looking to find people who understand, and don’t judge, and can offer suggestions.
    Thank you for reading…

    Comment by Looking for Understanding — October 11, 2017 @ 5:37 pm | Reply

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