“I can’t do it.” “It’s too hard.” Utterances of giving up. Super easy phrases to throw around, but even bigger phrases to overcome. Call life a rollercoaster, trampoline, speed bumps, each highlights the ups and downs we all go through. It is how we handle the low points that makes all the difference in the world.
Living with a disability, it would be easy to throw in the towel, to quit, to give up. My lemons were rotten from day one. No way to make lemonade. Well, you get the idea. You can’t get anywhere in life sitting on the sidelines. To enjoy life, you must do life.
Take the simple act of putting on a shirt over your head. What if you couldn’t raise your arms up over your head? (Sorry officer, they don’t go any higher.) When I was younger I would have my mom or one of my siblings help me, one arm at a time and then over the head. At the end of the day it would be sliding out one arm and then, “Off with his head.” So my mom or siblings would say, popping the shirt off over the top of my head and then off the last arm.
Today, if I choose an over the head shirt, which isn’t too often, it is a dressing stick that helps. I prefer a button down. Still a challenge with my cute, adorable fingers with limited dexterity, but a button hook helps greatly. And getting dressed, while a full act in itself, is just the start of the day.
You, reading this, were probably multitasking and dressed before you even got to this paragraph. Oh, I envy you. But I still would not trade places. Why, you ask? What most see as normal tasks, I see as opportunities to find alternatives. In some cases, improve on techniques. Heck, the cavemen started with the wheel. Today we have the wheelchair. A wheelchair is not a person; it is a mode of transportation for some to get from point A to point B. So, no, a person is not confined to a wheelchair, they use a wheelchair to their advantage when using their feet is not an option.
Reading or writing can be a challenge for some. Heck, even simple math for some. It’s no time to say I can’t. It is the right time to figure out how to do it. You can. For those reading this, congratulations, another challenge overcome.
Will there be struggles, walls of steel, curbs or steps in the way? Why certainly. Humankind is a diverse group of people. What works for some will not work for others. Will there be days when you just want to stay in bed and sulk? Yes. Take 5 seconds and then it’s time to get back to life. To help yourself and others find the paths of least resistance.
Have faith, if you are so inclined. God said, Genesis 1:26, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” I am made in His image. You are made in His image. When you are down and almost out, remember, Isaiah 46:4, “I will carry you.”
As a community of faith or even simply a community. When we work together, we can build each other up. We can get past any hurtle. It is only when we allow others to get into our minds and hearts, to tear us down, to make us feel small, that we allow them to define us. Sorry, or nay sayers, those who need to feel better about themselves by making others feel bad. That will not work when we stand tall. When we face our giants. Throw the word, can’t, out of your dictionary and replace it with, try. I will try. Until you have tried, you will never, ever know if you could do something in the first place.
Beat down that limitation and turn it into adaptation. Say no to mister depression, by finding the ways to make life work in your favor. If needed, seek help in finding those ways around the challenges you face. Any challenge is not going to be easy, but well worth the battle. Say it! “I can!” “I will!” Watch out world, here we come.