Did you ever have a moment when you thought your life would never be the same? Okay, I know what you’re thinking, but stay with me. I didn’t get struck by lightning, or have a near death experience, or even witness something of the paranormal. I witnessed the power of human being overcoming challenges I take for granted every day. To be honest, every hour. When I look at all the physical activity I do in one day…I’m like an athlete in training. Does anyone ever really take an account how hard it is to get up the stairs? Not to mention if it’s more than one flight, or one without a railing. You say there’s an elevator, but if there’s a fire, the stairs are your best bet. What about our hands? I remember doing those elementary hand finger paintings and thinking “why I’m painting with my hands? Is this just another way that I can guilt my parents to put my ridiculous art work on the refrigerator? “ Probably, but I digress. The point is, I never really took an account what it means to have two hands (ten fingers) or two legs (feet 2, with the ten toes of course). I never thought that buy a simple flick of the wrist…I could open doors, write, shake hands, type, do sports, anything. Practically, no boundaries, at least, no physical ones….
The only people that I’ve witnessed who were physically challenged were in a wheelchair, or in a chair where they needed a remote for motor skills. They were paralyzed from the neck down. Seeing someone completely dependent on a machine or a person….I start to wonder….the cards that were dealt…if they had any clue what the “dealer” would throw at them….and now..how do you make a losing hand, a winning one? Ok, forgive the metaphors…but I love a vivid picture.
I’ve never met anyone with no hands or legs. Wow..I wonder how ignorant or just plain sad that sounds…but all true I assure you. I wish I was exposed to more people who were born different than me, or face physical challenges, or even have a different perspective than myself. Well, I met Brett Eastburn, so I guess that’s a start on my wish list.
Brett Eastburn came to CCBC Essex for a lecture on being different. I always try to approach anything I hear with an open mind….or at least try to clean out all the necessary crap in my mind. Funny enough, I met Brett before I even knew who he was. I was coming in through the door, and this guy looked like he was having some trouble. He didn’t have any arms or legs, but I didn’t really notice at the time. It’s strange…we notice what we want to. I didn’t even look to see how he was going to open the door, but it didn’t really matter. I was going to go open it, but he said he “had it” like it was an everyday, no big deal. I knew that I was hosting a program for Disabilities…but I thought the speaker had no disabilities…but was going to inform us about them. Genius I know. Come to find out, Brett was the speaker who would open my mind to limitless possibilities.
Handicap. That’s the one word Brett spoke about that resonated more than anything else. I see the signs every time I enter a bathroom, or when I enter a parking spot. Handicap- physical or mental disability making participation in certain of the usual activities of daily living more difficult. That’s what Brett asked people when we saw him. He asked the audience their definition of “handicap.” Then, he said something, I wasn’t quite ready for…he wasn’t handicap. He participated in all sports. Basketball and wrestling, and he was quite well at both. He demonstrated how to throw a football, and even a basketball. My jaw dropped! It dropped more, because I kind of “throw like a girl” big time. This guy has no hands, or arms and threw it close to an NFL player. This time, I’m not exaggerating at all! You honestly had to be there to believe it!
His speech had an amazing message, and also a simple one. We’re all going to face obstacles and challenges in this life. Some will be born with them, others will find them on the path to success or clarity. The point is, no one is really “handicap”. It’s all in OUR MIND! Let our mind be the motivating force to break through limitations. Let them make us strong mentally and hopefully physcially. Limitations are like “bullies” who just need to be shown who’s boss. Let our minds learn to be conditioned to face hard times, and I take courage in the strength that obstacles are actually good for us.