In our vulnerabilities, lies our strength. (Paraphrase of an Albert Einstein quote)
If you’ve been reading the Radiant Living with a Disability blog from the beginning (only a select few of you were present in the early days), you may remember this one. It was only the second post. It’s being updated and recycled because of the wisdom that it speaks to of the strength found in our vulnerabilities.
What does this mean, Dad?
It was shortly before Christmas and my parents had gathered my three older brothers, ages ten to fifteen to begin the conversation about something called “cerebral palsy.” My parents had just returned home with me after receiving my diagnosis and trying to wrap their heads around it for themselves.
“She’ll probably need some help throughout life.”
My father put simply as he tried to let them know how it would impact my life, although he had no idea at the time exactly how that would look.
Boy, hasn’t that been the truth?!
It began with my family carrying me everywhere until I learned to walk on my own just before age five. Then when the school years hit, my mother spent hours writing out my homework assignments while I was in school, long before computers. Fast forward to age sixteen and it was my father and my brother, Dan, who spent hours in empty parking lots with me teaching me how to control my muscles until I learned to drive a car. Then it became my friends continually reminded me I could do anything, like going down escalators if I had a hand to hold.
The point is I would never be who I am today without all the help I received along the way. It has been all this help, from physically carrying me to all your supportive comments I received last week from my blog debut, that have allowed me to throw my arms open and embrace the pursuits I have. Along the way, I manage to create a life that I love and have “taken CP along for the ride,” rather than it directing my life.
Disability makes us vulnerable and leave us sometimes grudgingly, in need of help. But what if, just what if, we were to let the wisdom of being vulnerable be our guide?
I have learned over the decades the tremendous amount of inner strength it takes to ask for help. I used to get hung up on how people would perceive me asking as weak or pitiful. One of the many beauties of growing older is you care less and less about perceptions. People are going to perceive anything any way they want – who can control that?!
When striving to fully live life with a disability, the help and support you receive from the people has such a powerful influence on how you wholeheartedly embrace life. This is a major theme addressed in Firewalk: Embracing Different Abilities.
The next time you need help, think for a few seconds about the strength it takes to do so, ask for the help, and then get on with fully living your life.
In our vulnerabilities, lies our strength. . .