Learning from Those labeled “Disabled” – John Stauffer
This has been a tough month, but I have learned to always look for the silver lining. What has been tough about this month? We have had five friends/clients pass away over the last few weeks, two young adults and three seniors that enjoyed different programs provided by Helping Hands Respite Care. Where is the silver lining in the death of a friend? It is in the memory and what you take away from the interactions with them.
I ask your indulgence as I share just two lessons from those who recently passed, that has had an effect in my life. The first comes from a scholarly man, who struggled for several years with dementia in his later years. While education was his forte what he left me with were more words about life rather than education, he shared that “Each new day is another opportunity to smile.” This sounds simplistic but dwell on those words for a while, let them gently float through your thoughts, and you start to see and feel the depth of these simple words. What is your day going to look like? What impact are you going to make on those you encounter? If you choose to start your day with a smile, chances are very high that you will have a memorable and positive impact on those who encounter you throughout the day, and you greatly improve your chances of having a good day. Thank You H.C. for those words of wisdom.
My second take away is from a young woman for whom we provided care over many years. She was non-verbal, and had limited mobility, but her “disability” did not prevent her from making her feelings and wishes known and it didn’t prevent her from getting out and about. It was clear from the first time that I met her that she was a happy person that enjoyed life and lived in the moment. Over my dozens of encounters with this young lady, what she taught me was a life lesson that is really hard for some of us and that is to “Live in the moment” to enjoy what is right in front of you now. Life is uncertain, so make the best of each opportunity. Laugh more, worry less – it is that simple, but so many of us muck it up and complicate life to the point that we can barely function. The pure joy and happiness I experienced in being in this young lady’s presence where she always enjoyed the moment has made me a better person. Laurel, Thank you for demonstrating the value and the joy that life gives by simply “being in the moment.”
Each of us have talents and gifts, let us each work a little harder to recognize those in others.