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When Grief Turns into Joy

November 20, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Inspiration

A beautiful, inspirational story from 10 Million Clicks For Peace contributor, Corry Roach

Life sometimes throws us a curve ball. We think things are unhappy or without hope, when in actual fact, they are anything but that. It’s all about perception, I think.

I sometimes find it fascinating to watch the goings on in my world from a place outside myself. It seems that I am able to find a different perspective on what is happening, and it is quite different from what my cerebral self would have me believe. I have been known to get stuck in my cerebral self from time to time, even when I know the answer cannot be found there!

This incident occurred about fifteen years ago, when I had to accept the fact that my next mode of transportation would be a wheelchair, as I could no longer rely on the stability of my legs to hold me up without fail.

It goes without saying that I fought the big fight before I finally surrendered to the chair. I recall how afraid I was of what I would surrender myself into, if I admitted I was handicapped enough to require a wheelchair to get around. I had a huge judge that deemed me a failure, to be sure. This attitude did nothing for my self acceptance or peace.

Due to my tenacious nature (which is a nice way of saying I can be incredibly stubborn at times) I believe it was spiritually deemed I would require a remarkably humbling lesson in order to accept my fate with a more positive outlook, and it was delivered in the form of a very small child.

In my efforts to get used to maneuvering around in the chair, I went to a large grocery outlet with wide aisles to try out my shopping skills from my new vantage point.

I also learned, as I was wheeling into the store, that it really is true that people think one is somehow challenged in other ways when one is wheelchair bound. I almost burst out laughing when one Good Samaritan proceeded to shout at me, asking if I needed assistance.

Despite my amusement, I was able to assure her kindly, that my legs weren’t functioning well, and that my hearing was fine! We both ended up laughing about it, and I think we both learned something from that experience.

However, the greatest message for me was yet to be delivered. As I wheeled into the store, I noticed a tiny baby not quite a year of age, and she was wearing only a diaper on this hot summer day. I looked around for a parent, as for a moment it appeared no one was watching her.

She was as fascinated by my chair as I was by her lack of supervision, it seemed. Unabashed, she gave the open, frank and curious stare of a child as she sat on the floor, watching me intently. I smiled at her and she was fearless in her cheeky grin back at me. Then, to my consternation, she pushed her diapered bottom into the air and stood unsteadily on her little chubby feet. Her chubby hands came up to clutch her ears, and with a two tooth grin, she began to take a few wide based, tentative steps. When she succeeded in toddling over to me, she slapped her hands on my knees and crowed with accomplishment, and then promptly fell down.

Before I could reach forward to assist her, she got up with determination and, with a backward glance to make sure I was watching, she stepped a few careful steps again, all the while holding onto her ears for balance!

I laughed with delight at her antics, and she squealed gleefully at my attention. My heart was full to watch such a tenacious little girl teaching herself how to walk…

And then the ‘aha’ came.

My eyes filled with tears. Not sad tears, you understand, but humbled at how gently and lovingly we are sometimes taught the hardest of lessons…because, in that moment, I understood that while she was teaching herself how to walk, she was teaching me how not to walk. We were coming at this mobility thing from opposite extremes, yet I ended up feeling the same freedom and joy as she did in her expression of her newly mastered task!

She could only manage to walk if she stood up and held onto her ears for balance. I could only manage to ‘walk’ if I sat down and pushed myself in my wheelchair. I needed a chair, and she needed her ears, just until we got better at our respective talents!

I’m sure this darling baby grew to walk and even run, just as I learned to tear around in my wheelchair. She could set aside her childish things and no longer hold her ears to balance her walking. I, seven years later, was able to set the chair in the garage, where it only gets used for long distance travel these days.

The gift of that experience is that I don’t ever take my mobility for granted anymore. I thank God each day for the things I am able to do independently, and I still stubbornly push myself to my greatest heights of movement and gratitude. All because a curly haired little baby gave me a lesson: that motivation has two sides to it, just like all things in life.

I should add that the mother was there, of course, watching from a distance. She was very obviously out of her comfort zone as to what to do with what was happening before her very eyes with this woman in a wheelchair and her baby. Sadly, she hustled the child away, saying, ‘Don’t you be bothering that lady.”

Somehow, it made the understanding between the child and me all the more precious, like she was an angel who’d given me the most sacred of gifts. And it seemed no one else was even aware it happened. Maybe that didn’t matter, because the lesson was meant for me alone.

I think God does that all the time, and we are often asleep to the magnificence of what is possible in Creation around us each and every day. I’m just grateful that, in that moment, I was able to recognize I was on holy ground with this child as my teacher.

And you know what they say…when the student is ready, the Teacher will appear…

Corry Roach’s website, www.ByGraceofMourning.ca offers personal and professional insight and education into the grief journey for those who mourn, from professionals to the bereaved and all who love them. Although the main focus is bereavement, loss of loved ones (or parts of ourselves) to terminal illness, dementia, aging, divorce/relationships/addictions are also discussed, as well as how to offer support. Grief resolution within ourselves is imperative, enriching our lives with personal empowerment as we work toward a life of spiritual meaning and inner peace.

Julian Kalmar and Rick Beneteau want to know if you've got what it takes to step up and be a leader in the new world transformation. CLICK HERE to find out.

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