I was writing about courage this morning for our April newsletter and I began to realize how courageous I really am. I remember that season in my life all too clearly. It was about two years ago, July 2011, when we received two pieces of life changing news. Zoe was diagnosed with breast cancer and I was told that we were no longer in the service area for LiftLine, all within a few days of each other. I knew that treatments existed that would enable Zoe to battle the cancer and she has and she is still in remission and for that I am grateful. Crazy as it may sound, while that shook our world, it was the notion of not being able to leave my home and go to campus to teach, meet with prospective clients, apply for jobs, go out with friends, or even go to my doctor’s appointment or the grocery store, which made me face my greatest fear. Here I was a fairly independent person with a disability and then with one phone call I was told I had “limited” service. What that has meant is that in the last two years of calling for reservations, I have gotten them twice.
I remember my initial feelings were a mixture of shock, anger, and fear. Shock because I could not believe that one of the worst things I thought could happen to me was happening, anger at the injustice of it, and fear at how I was going to live a healthy life with limited ability to leave my house. This is when I realized how courageous I was. I didn’t sit in a puddle somewhere like Eeyore saying whoa is me. I moved through the fear and began speaking out against this injustice. I contacted all my politicians. I contacted the media. I sent out press releases about my struggle. I spoke out in the media and told my story. I began working with others as part of the transportation advocacy group for people with disabilities. While I have YET to bring about the changes needed to restore my services, I am not finished speaking out against this injustice that is affecting over 500,000 people nationwide.
I have also been blessed with a supervisor who has facilitated me teaching online and keeping my health insurance, which insured that Zoe had and continues to have health insurance. I asked my grocery store how they could assist me and they created a solution to my shopping dilemma. I began seeking the guidance of the Infinite and trusting my own intuition and creating ways out of no way. I know I am not done yet. The best is yet to come.
I remember growing up; my Bubby would remind me to give thanks in all circumstances. She always taught me that when you could see the blessing in a situation you know you were going to be ok. One thing it taught me was to begin looking for the blessing as soon as possible. The last two years have been overflowing with blessings. I have kept my job. I have been able to get to my doctor’s appointments. I have been able to grocery shop. I have kept my job. I have developed two businesses/ministries that are taking on lives of their own. I am developing my voice as a disability rights advocate and working with national organizations to bring about systemic change.
As Helen Reddy once sang “I am woman hear me roar.” What I thought was the worst possible thing that could have happened to me at that point in my life happened and it brought out strengths and gifts I did not know I had. It helped teach me how brave and courageous I really am. Because of all I have been through, I know this to be true – the best is yet to come in my life. The Infinite is not finished with me yet.