In the Heart of the Beholder

“You are so inspirational!”

As a person with a disability, it has been explained to me that the phrase is demeaning and I should be offended.  Well meaning, able-bodied individuals express how inspirational certain individuals with disabilities are to them.  The inspired person usually says something to the effect that if they had to deal with that disability, they would kill themselves or never leave their bed.

I am supposed to join lockstep with my brothers & sisters with disabilities.  I will not rebuke such statements.  If you are inspired by me walking with Perry, I am grateful.  If you find my disposition uplifting, I am thankful something I did inspired you.  Even if I really did nothing and they find inspiration, it warms my heart.

The world is filled with soul stealing sadness.  We can choose to see the horrors and tragedies.  It is easier to be overwhelmed in the dark than focus on the light.

As the saying goes, “Rather than curse the darkness, I will light a candle.”

One candle may not be much of a source of light, but the more candles that can be lit; the brighter things will be for everyone.

It may be due to the fact blindness for me is not total darkness.  My blindness is an over abundance of pulsating flashes, puffs of electricity, and swirls of colors.

At the beginning of losing my sight, I fixated on what I could no longer do.  Every article I read had a theme how “Pat never let their disability slow them down.”  Stories like that are unrealistic and set me up for disappointment and frustration.  Even making a cup of java in the morning was a challenge at first.  I couldn’t even start my day without letting my disability get the best of me.

Like everything in life, I gain confidence in what I re-discover I can do.    If this unearthing process inspires you to do more, Amen!

If at the end of my life, people could only say one positive thing about me:  “Chad inspired folks…” then I would say that my life was one well lived.

How many ideas were inspired by a different perspective or point of view?  I think the advocates for disability awareness have taken correctness too far.  Inspiration comes from music, silence, fear, happiness, heartbreak, and the mundane.  Inspiration is in the heart of the beholder.

Who would have thought that Andy Warhol would be inspired by a can of Campbell’s soup but he was motivated to the point to paint it.  Inspiration is energy.  It is excitement.  If something I can say or do gives a person the perseverance to continue forward, then I am overjoyed something I did or wrote brought positive change.

I am going to keep headed on my path in life.  If my journey inspires you or just a detail provides a spark to fight through your struggles, my mission will be accomplished.

A person shared a true tale with me that she recently had too many things go wrong in her life.  It felt like the end was near.  With no options, the person walked around the apartment complex.  Day after day, the person paced the parking lot.  A lack of electricity, job, transportation, food, or hope had her soul restless.

An older lady called out.  “Oh, Honey.  You look like you need a hug.  Come here, Darling.”  The older lady embraced a stranger in need and changed the course of events.  A single candle of hope pierced a world of darkness.  That one interaction lit a path of possibilities.  One person made a difference and, now, I pass the flame to you.  The decision to open myself up, and share stories of hope, only makes me stronger.

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