We’ve seen them—many of them young, bold and vibrant . . . Some of them glowing, their faces registering the joy of achievement.
The Special Olympics and similar sporting events, among other activities, geared to and convened for people willing to push themselves beyond either physical or developmental limitation—or both, often raise my gaze.
The first time I walked into my late friend Ken’s office in New Jersey I was amazed to see him in his wheelchair, mouth-stick protruding from between his lips tapping out a message on his computer. Two printers, one on either side of the computer, rattled away simultaneously.
A quadriplegic, Ken found great purpose in life in sharing with others—whether or not they had physical or developmental challenges—the message of hope that he had found in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Hmm, it’s hard to believe my visit was well over two decades ago, and that he has since passed away to be with the Lord He came to love and serve.)
Ken sustained his catastrophic injury when he slammed his car into a tree. He was an entrepreneur in his early twenties, with his own business up and running at the time.
John, a Special Olympics swimmer I met a few years back, has only one arm, yet he enthusiastically set himself to buying an electronic organ with bass pedals. He’d make the most of his one hand, five fingers and two feet.
Recently I was honoured to be included in a volunteer appreciation lunch at a retirement residence in my community. Most of the volunteers are senior citizens, as I also am, although I’m among the younger.
Some of them are in their eighties and yet sufficiently well and active to give of their time to bring cheer, provide music, or Bible study, assist with crafts and share life with the residents. They truly are to be commended. I lead a worship service each month in that place and also present instrumental music and song.
I’d like to mention Kelvin,* a young man whom I guess to be about twenty. He’s confined to a wheelchair. His bright, cheerful and respectful air has endeared him to the residents, and they just love it when he comes in to make the bingo calls.
Julie,* a young lady about Kelvin’s age, also helps out. An element of developmental challenge doesn’t at all get in the way of the joy she brings. Her pretty face and smile and bouncy curls add to the rays of sunshine she brings.
With signs of memory fading at the edges, as well as dodgy recall, and old injuries bringing a measure of physical limitation that I experience nowadays, I’m encouraged when I witness the gung-ho joie de vivre of these people and others like them.
They shame me for my grousing about, “I can’t do what I used to do.”
Many more such individuals come to mind (hmm, memory and recall’s working fine now that the pump’s primed). However, what do these folks I’ve shared about today have in common?
~They are others-centred.
~Most are people of Christian faith.
~All care about other challenged folks, and do something to help.
~They are forward-looking, regardless of age and challenges.
~They refuse to be limited by their limitations or limited to them.
It brings into focus the missionary apostle Paul’s words:
“I can do everything through him [Christ] who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NIV).
*Names changed to protect privacy.
Positive reader feedback for the book “Raise Your Gaze . . . Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart.” Some have purchased second and third copies – and even a fourth – to give to family members and friends.
Available from author for $17.00 (list price $19.50) + $5.50 shipping to an address in Canada. See Contact Form below.
Ebook version now available. Click: Raise Your Gaze … EbookNow out: Raise Your Gaze – Mindful Musings of a Grateful Heart collection of 52 articles from P-Pep! column, sprinkled with Words to Bless. Inspirational; some biographical. 190 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9920074-2-3 Available from Angel Hope Publishing: Angelhopepublishing@glynisbelec.com ; www.glynisbelec.com Amazon.com ; Amazon.ca Ebook version now available.
Peter A. Black is a freelance writer in Southwestern Ontario, and is author of “Parables from the Pond” – a children’s / family book (mildly educational, inspirational in orientation, character reinforcing. 39 stories, 232 pp, b/w illustrations. Finalist – Word Alive Press. ISBN: 1897373-21-X. List price $15.99. Available through bookstores, the author and at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca
The book has found a place in various settings with a readership ranging from kids to senior adults. His inspirational column, P-Pep! appears weekly in The Guide-Advocate (of Southwestern Ontario). His articles have appeared in 50 Plus Contact and testimony, and several newspapers in Ontario. ~~+~~