There once lived the daughter of a master gardener. Like her father before her, she loved to play in the dirt. She adored the sweet smell of the soil and the dew drops that formed on the leaves early in the morning. She marveled in the miracle of seeds that grew from little bits in her hand to full grown edibles that provided sustenance and enjoyment for herself and her family.
Naturally, she was very capable of growing many wonderful and amazing fruits and vegetables in her own garden that were the envy of many people around her. She especially thrived on strange, exotic foods not typically grown in the other gardens found locally. It was truly her way of exploring the world around her, when she didn’t actually have the means to physically leave her home.
But, as is typical with all forms of greatness, there was one plant she couldn’t grow – and it really, really bothered her. Everyone around her could grow it seemingly without any effort. In fact, it was so easy, and grew for others with such abundance, that any excess was gladly shared with her. There truly was no need for her to grow it at all. But her inability to grow it, herself, still gnawed relentlessly at her.
So, for years, she tried everything she could to grow it. From fish waste to cow manure, from sandy to rich soil, and everything in between – but, to no avail. She literally tried everything she knew how to do and everything that others suggested. Yet, year after year, she was left with nothing but bare ground to show for her efforts. It left her feeling sad, and embarrassed. Like a complete foolish failure, in spite of any of her other gardening successes.
But one day, in a last-stitch effort, she planted six little seeds and crossed her fingers – and waited – and prayed. Many days later, she woke up early and checked her seeds as she always had. To her great surprise, the miracle finally happened for her! A tiny green leaf poked its glorious little beacon of life and hope out of the darkness and into the light. After literal years of discouragement and failure, her little seeds actually grew! She had grown a zucchini – and all seemed right with the world. And the plant grew, and she was able to share her abundance with others. Her persistence had finally paid off and she became one of the givers.
Friends, the story is a silly one, but it’s actually absolutely true. In fact, it’s not only a true story about my own personal struggle to grow one stinkin’ zucchini. But, it’s also a very real story about my life in general. Being disabled is tough stuff sometimes. It gets frustrating, and disheartening to sit and watch everyone around me be able to do things with their bodies that mine will never do. To know that, no matter how hard I try, my legs just simply aren’t wired to move like I see other legs moving.
However, I don’t share this in an effort to gain sympathy. Rather, I want very much to give encouragement to the others who share the struggle. It is a very real one! But, it’s not a hopeless one. True – some things are beyond our control, no matter how badly we want them – no matter how hard we try. Five of those six seeds still never sprouted.
Like the seeds in my story, you may feel like no one sees the ‘real you’, because you’re consistently covered in the “dirt” of your disability. That you’re always in a constant battle for some (ANY!) ray of sunshine to breathe some life into you. Or that you can’t do anything at all without someone’s constant help. Trust me, I feel ya there!
But there will always be something we CAN do. Please, please let that be your focus! If you don’t have anything immediately in mind, do some thinkin’ about it and take your pick. Whether it’s singing, gardening, solving complex mathematical equations, and/or playing with potions in a science lab – whatever. Above all, be a giver. We all have something to share with the world, regardless of the level of our personal abilities.
Keep fighting. Keep trying. Share what you can share. What the world sees as a disability is only a very small part of you. Show everyone that you’re an overcomer. That the external mechanical aids that may help you function are not what defines you – that you were born for greatness regardless of them! Be willing to show the world that your inability is only a very small part of your story. You were born to shine! YOU CAN DO IT!