More Than What Meets The Eye

This week the Canadian Parliament is finalizing their assisted-death law. Unlike the five states in the US that have legalized assisted-suicide for terminally ill people, the Canadian law extends doctor-assisted death to people with disabilities who find their condition unbearable.  My first thought was, “WHO THE HECK DOESN’T!!!!!!!”  

What makes a person’s life unbearable? It doesn’t take a disability to make a life miserable, but it does make it challenging.  I think that many people with disabilities struggle when their limitations keep them from achieving dreams.   I just got a call about a young handicapped woman who is very discouraged.  I can remember when I felt like a victim of my limitations.  However I learned how to surrender my dreams to God and now I understand what God’s purpose is for my life regardless of my condition.  

My friend Mark, was a healthy teenager until he had a skiing accident when he was 16.  He’s been paralyzed ever since and survives with the help of a ventilator.  In January he developed a sore on his leg that has forced him to be bedridden for several months.

Knowing he represents others who will be affected by the legislation, I asked him why he has wanted to keep living.   His answer was clear, “His passion for encouraging others makes his life worth fighting for.”

God values people so much differently than people often do.  When we understand how much God loves us we can gain hope and courage from His promises.  

 Zech. 9:12 Come to the place of safety, all you prisoners, for there is yet hope! I promise right now, I will repay you two mercies for each of your woes.

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Champions

While I was watching the Olympics, I saw a lot of people at the top of their game, vying to be gold medalists.  Many of them didn’t get a medal. Does this mean that they aren’t champions? They might feel that they had failed and are not champions, but in reality, the people that get up and keep going are the ones that win a more important race.

As I watched the ice skating competition, specifically the men’s short programs, I cringed when Jeremy Abbott crashed into the wall during his performance. For a second or two I joined thousands of other people who were probably thinking, “He is done, because he must be hurt after that fall.” But lo and behold, as the crowd cheered, he got back up and finished his performance. It was so spectacular to watch him finish without any other flaws.

He is the mark of a true champion. Those who cheered him on are also champions. As a woman with a disability, I’ve climbed many hurdles, but I couldn’t do what I’ve done with out the champions in my life cheering me on. Some of them give me a smile, some of them give me a kick in the pants when I need it, and some of them just help me get rested up until it’s time to get up and go again.

We are all called to be both cheerleaders and champions. We are all made stronger when we cheer each other on toward greatness. Who are you cheering on right now? Or you might actually be cheering someone on and not even know it! I’ve discovered that all of us are strengthened when we give and receive encouragement from each other because that is what we were created to do.

If these rainy, gray winter days, have brought gloom your way, go to the mall and just smile at someone, make a phone call to someone you know, or send a card to a friend for no reason at all, and let me know if your gloom suddenly turns to sunshine!