Editor's note: Joe Cook suffered a stroke a little over five years ago, and is now a hemiplegic.
Early on the morning of March 14, 2007, I suffered an intra-cerebral hemorrhagic stroke which left me paralyzed straight down the middle of my body to the right side.
Over the past 5 years, I have learned to function as a hemiplegic and I still find it full of crucial challenges. It is a long story, but can be a short one as well. I find myself occasionally asking God the question "why?" Why me? Why did this happen to me? Why did I survive the stroke and have to live my life with so much paralysis.
Why would a God who loves me so much let me encounter so much danger and let me suffer? I've spent a large part of my life serving the Lord in church and making it happen for people other than myself, but it seems like the worst things always happen to the best people!
In my journey on the long road of recovery, I have come to realize a few things. It is not God's fault that I had a stroke, or for that matter that I am paralyzed. It may not even be the devil's fault if you believe he exists, but that is a totally different story to be told at another time. We have to be careful not to give credit where it is not due!
I'm not physically where I want to be in life, but I am definitely not where I used to be. I'm learning how to cope and deal with my daily struggles of life. This is mostly a direct result of Turnstone being involved with my life on a daily basis.
First, there is Turnstone as the center or place for children and adults with disabilities. It is a valuable resource that has to be utilized in order to see the benefits. The organization, education, training, therapy, and programs are restorative, and rejuvenating. It is an environment that is always filled with energy, involvement, enrichment, education, and empowerment.
Then, there is Turnstone as a way of life. There is a changed way of perceiving things and living in one's best interest that is promulgated at Turnstone. When you are a disabled individual and need other resources to help you function and survive on a daily basis, Turnstone becomes the wind beneath your wings, because they understand the needs of handicapped people. It is designed to help you function and survive in every way. Turnstone exists just for that very purpose!
Just like the thrust that makes a plane fly, Turnstone is what makes a disabled person exist in life, to survive and excel to the next level. They both are important! No matter what trial or handicap you are facing or going through in life, I am a living example that you can grow as you go through it and help someone else!