Look around yourself, look at other people near you. Some are in their cars isolated from the world hell-bent for leather to get somewhere. Some are walking on the sidewalk heads down fingers furiously texting. Texting! 10 years ago was that even a word? I don’t know how many times I’ve almost been run down by someone texting. A noun becomes a verb. I know there are horrible things going on in the world around us. I know that there is ugliness everywhere you look. But I also know that there is incredible beauty and incredible heroism all around us. I think too many people are missing something.
The saying used to be: “stop and smell the roses”. Now I think it should be: “lift your head and notice the world”. Have we become so jaded so not in tune with the world that we are incapable of seeing the beauty that is all around us? The other day I noticed an elderly couple holding hands and smiling at each other. I thought how lucky they are! They can see each other. I watch children laughing and playing with a ball and I wonder how long their innocence will last. All too soon they’ll be introduced to the evils of texting. And soon they too will become isolated. How long will it take before we become a world of individuals with no personal interaction with each other?
We need to stop. We need to look around and notice each other. We are not a species that does well without others of our kind. We need to notice the beauty of a flower or a finely constructed poem. We also need to notice each other. We are in this journey together and those who journey with us contribute to who we will become. Because we are not done becoming who we will be. Hopefully the journey will be overflowing with wonders and excitement and that we will actually notice.
We do not live in a world where all the people love and respect each other. We do live in a world where there are those that do care but sometimes it feels as if we are still a very small minority. You can’t legislate common sense or caring for your fellow human beings. You can try to instil them in your children through good parenting, schools and churches but so often there seems to be another agenda at work. I was taught to treat other people the way I would like to be treated: with respect. How difficult can that be? Is this a novel concept? No. There is so much hatred in the world that some days I despair of our ever surviving another millennium. So I try not to dwell on the whole world. I focus on the tiny part of the whole that I interact with. Even here there are aspects of the intolerance and disdain that exists in so many places. With all of that I still count myself lucky.
My parents never taught me to hate. They taught me to read, they taught me to think for myself, they taught me that our differences are what make us strong, but they never taught me to hate. People hate for all kinds of different reasons. I hate beats. Sorry I just really dislike the taste. I cannot fathom hating someone just because they are different from me. Even more unfathomable is how anyone could hate a group of people because of an ideology.
I have friends and family, neighbours and shop keepers who see me. Not the wheelchair, the woman. Is it possible that out there someone hates me? I do not know. I do know I have value and a responsibility to try to ensure that others are not dismissed, hated or abused because of something as minor as a disability. I believe hatred is a learned emotion. We can choose not to learn it. Everyone has a disability of some kind: fears, inhibitions, diseases. Mine just happens to be obvious. Is yours?
TORONTO ROCKS! FOR DIMES!
Toronto with March of Dimes Canada is paying a musical tribute to perseverance, to tenacity, to you. Celebrated amateur bands will compete in the Pennzoil presents ROCK FOR DIMES TORONTO. This is a battle of the bands that will ROCK this city! Funds raised will help support March of Dimes Canada programs that assist individuals with disabilities. Come, join us and be a part of the fun! There will be celebrities, there will be music, there will be excitement!
The Ninth Annual Rock for Dimes Toronto – May 3, 2013
Hard Rock Cafe, 279 Yonge St, Toronto 7 pm
Do you ever feel that the world owes you because you are dealing with a horrible disease? Do you ever feel that the able-bodied people around you should answer your every whim because they are, well, able-bodied and you are not? Do you ever feel that you are alone and no one could possibly understand what you are dealing with everyday? Well it doesn’t, they don’t and you aren’t. Everyone deals with issues, everyone. Every single individual out there has a disability of some sort: a crippling fear that will not allow them to leave their home, a devastating depression which has robbed them of the ability to feel joy, a nasty flatulence problem which makes being in public a little aromatic. You may have a disability that is easily recognizable and therefore allowances are made. What about the people who hide their issues, their fears from the rest of the world? They require just as much compassion and understanding as the rest of us. You and I are incapable of looking at the next person and knowing what issues they deal with everyday. So we have no right to judge, exactly in the same way as the next person does not have the right to judge us. Think about that the next time you’re feeling alone and unloved. Chances are good you’re wrong.
Are you someone who speaks before they think or are you someone who thinks before they speak. It can make a big difference to how others see you and to how they treat you. Think about it.
Someone once said that the future will take care of itself. Perhaps. But we need to lay the foundation that the future can grow from. Just because in a hundred years no one may care about the issues of today, does not mean that they won’t and that we shouldn’t. We should. We need to correct the problems of today so that tomorrow won’t have to. The problems of today are, in part, because no one came forward yesterday to deal with it. “Do not put off until tomorrow what should be done today”.
Are you afraid of what the future holds? Do you fear that you will never marry because you have a disability? Or that you will be unable to work or attend school. You may never marry. You may have to quit work or school. Is that the end of your life? You decide. We are put on this earth for many, many reasons, none of which I know. What I do know is that I am the architect of my own future and I will not throw in the towel. Life is precious yes, but being alive is easy – inhale, exhale. What is difficult and a lot more valuable is living. Each and every day brings us wonders and beauty. We may have to look for them but they are there. We will also encounter heartache and disappointment. You must try to find the good in every situation and the more you try, the easier it will become. That is the way to live: work at it, every day.