My accident tore into my life like some merciless thief. He started with my body, trying to break me and take my leg. But more than that, he was there to rob me of my hope, to pulverize my very purpose. The thief tried to destroy everything I had built, to take everything from me. And he nearly succeeded in his ploy.

But turns out he had never had a run-in with Grit and Grace. Especially Texan Grit and Grace. Because the thief? Well, he ended up giving me so much more.

It was once I accepted my new reality and began sharing my story that I realized the biggest gift I had gained: the most amazing connections with others. The more I share my story, the more people I meet. And the more people I meet, the more I realize I am not alone, and I never was. Pain has an unwelcome knack at isolating us, making us believe there’s not another soul out there who could understand what we’re going through. The thing is, without sharing your story, no one will ever be given a chance to understand.

In a recent interview with the amazing Jenny Picciotto, I shared how I “encourage everyone to start where they are, be grateful for what they have, and do what they can; to resist the urge to isolate, build community and a support team, and to be gentle to themselves.” When we share our stories, it allows us to create that community, open up our hearts, and forge onward with the strength to persevere. Forge onward together. Sharing your story not only helps you heal, it also gives others the chance to heal.

Jenny wrote in her article that “Amberly has not found a cure for her CRPS, but she has found that by embracing her pain, she rekindled her love of life, and discovered a path to healing from within.”

A path to healing from within. Yes.

The path to healing from within is not a road that travels inward with a destination residing there. It’s a path that begins within, then spreads forward as you share your story. It is a path that leads to places you never could’ve imagined. A path that grows with each new connection, as others come and lay their bricks aside yours, joining you on the journey as a powerful community. Sharing your story creates a path that is healing both to you and to every individual who steps upon it.

I felt as though my purpose had been ground to dust after the accident. As I shared my story, I learned that my purpose had indeed been granulated, but never to dust that could be swept away. It had been ground to cement which allowed me to build a road of healing and hope, of community and connection.