This morning I finished reading I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban. Malala’s life changed in mere seconds when three gunshots were fired at her head. Yet after numerous surgeries and rigorous rehabilitation, she is making incredible strides. And though physically she is on the mend and her family reunited in the UK, they are all forced to remain away from home: away from the family, friends, work and life they built in Pakistan. New problems are imposed upon them as they deal with their altered reality.
For all of us, regardless of country or circumstance, there are times in life when dreams falter and reality alters the shape of those dreams forever. As we grow up and older we have a vision of the way things will be, conscious or not. Then, cards are dealt and sometimes the hands aren’t quite what we expect. Loss, illness, violence and broken relationships were not part of the imagined landscape. The challenge then becomes how can we make the best of this reality? How can we alter our dreams and vision of what life was going to be?
Throughout her young life, Malala (and millions of girls like her) have faced hardship, turmoil and terror like none we can imagine. Her dreams? “Peace in every home, every street, every village, every country. Education for every boy and every girl in the world.” These dreams put her in harm’s way. There are those who do not want to hear her words; those who would do anything to silence her.
How is Malala dealing with her new reality? The last line of her book holds the answer: “I am Malala. My world has changed but I have not.”
Those who find happiness in life are those able to adapt and adjust to life’s circumstance, those with a purpose greater than themselves. This young girl has lessons for all of us about accepting reality, fighting for change and altering one’s dreams. Malala will not be silenced.