Belfast Telegraph

We can all learn something from example of brave Robert

Editor's Viewpoint

In today's world, where so many people feel sorry for themselves, it is inspiring to read the story of former Glentoran footballer Robert Craig in today's paper.

Robert was once a rising soccer star.

But he is now confined to a wheelchair after being struck down by the rare and degenerative condition ataxia.

However, with the drive and determination that made Robert a successful footballer, he has used these qualities to cope with an illness that others would find daunting.

He says: "You have a choice - you either get on with life, or you just sit there feeling sorry for yourself.

"If you want to restrict yourself, that's up to you. I try not to."

Despite such brave words Robert's path has not been easy, and he admits that after his shattering diagnosis his life was difficult for a long period of time.

He set about making the very best of his situation.

And in doing so, he developed a deep understanding of the human condition.

Robert makes many salient points, and stresses that although his physical capacities have been radically altered, his personality as a human being has not changed.

He decided that "if people are going to treat you differently they are not real friends, but my friends have treated me no differently whatsoever... there's people who are far worse off than me".

Robert's point about personality is well made, and worth reflecting upon.

So often we fail to see the real person behind the disability.

There are many others like Robert in our midst who, when faced with the most personally devastating circumstances, manage to transcend great difficulties and continue to live exemplary lives of great value.

It is people like Robert Craig who teach us about such qualities as perseverance and forbearance, and who help us to focus on what matters in life, and to be grateful every day for what we have.

Belfast Telegraph

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