Dealt

Dealt: (v) the result of an action of what was distributed or apportioned

Prostrate on the floor, short moments after tipping on my walker and falling, I was suddenly accosted with the reality of trying to get up.

I thought about all the times that people had joked, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up…”

Every time I saw one of those commercials, I was cynical, not believing there could be a situation where a human would be unable to, as they say, rise to the occasion.

I was not injured.

I was just in a predicament where the assets available to me—the lack of strength in my upper body and the faltering of my legs, were threatening to hold me in my original splat.

I was not angry. I was not upset.

Dripping with sweat, I continued to try to disprove what my brain had already explained to me as my reality.

“You will need help.”

For today, this was what I was dealt.

I was moving along with my walker, on my way to my music room to write to you and to compose my thoughts for the day.

Then I wasn’t.

Normalcy was gone. For the first time in a long time, the weaker portions of my human existence had taken over, demanding attention and insisting on leaving me vulnerable.

I tried for half an hour.

Candidly, the attempts to lift myself and eliminate the problem were much more painful than the fall.

Those beautiful souls who are my family stood by, not knowing what to do, perhaps full of ideas, but intelligent enough not to turn the project into a committee effort.

This is my status:

  • Life gave me a brain—I developed the ability to write.
  • I persisted in singing until it was stageable.
  • I played piano.
  • I wrote symphonies.
  • I penned thirteen independent movies.

I can’t get up off the floor.

Today, this was included.

Not despaired nor frustrated–more curious how this tale would unfold, and where there would be a happy end.

After tossing it around in my mind from one brain cell to another, I finally surrendered to the need for outside help.

We called the fire department and in less than five minutes, four eager, young, willing, kind, docile and caring young men walked through the door.

It took about five minutes and they had me standing back on my feet and then sitting in my wheelchair.

I bypassed embarrassment and went to gratitude.

I kicked discouragement out the door and embraced humor.

There was a moment in the room when achievement was celebrated, and we all felt better for being part of a winning cause.

You can spend your life hoping for better cards.

Or you can work with what you’ve been dealt.

Cripple

Cripple: (n) a person who is disabled or impaired in any way:

Webster considers the word “cripple” to be offensive.

I wonder if we have reached a point in our play-it-safe-society where, in trying to pursue what we might refer to as neutral language, we’ve actually ended up becoming more offensive by pointing out that this particular language which we now eschew is forbidden because the people it refers to are constantly perceived as underdogs.

Honestly, I never gave the first thought about someone in a wheelchair until I found myself in one.

I suppose I assumed that they were paralyzed, or perhaps had been so stricken by disease that they were unable to stand and walk.

Certainly, my training as a good Midwestern Christian let me know that such individuals required healing, and if Jesus were really here, he would quickly get them back on their feet.

But you see, what is really offensive is believing that because a person can’t walk, he or she is less than someone who can, and therefore we must be careful not to offend them with some misused term.

After all, there was a time when the word “retarded” to the average person meant exactly the same thing in exactly the same spirit as the word “challenged.”

Is it less vicious to call someone challenged than to call him or her retarded?

I don’t know and neither do you. We just follow the temporary whim of society’s need to imitate inclusion.

Then again, the “N word,” which is now considered to be abominable, was derived from the romance languages. For in Latin, the word “black” is “niger.” In Spanish, it is “negra.” Perhaps that’s where they came up with the “N word.”

What is offensive is a condescending belief that we must defend people because we have decided they are incapable of speaking for themselves. Is that not truly the most prejudiced thing that we can possibly do?

So if you come to see me and you want to find out what difficulty I’m having with my legs, you can relax.

Because crippled, weakened, impaired, challenged, hobbled or blessed all sound basically the same to me.

funny wisdom on words that begin with a C

 


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Biped

Biped: (n) an animal that uses two legs for walking.

Dictionary B

 There is an old saying infrequently used, but still chronicled somewhere in the testaments of time.

“The legs are the first thing to go.”

When I was a kid, I had no idea what that meant. Even growing into manhood, the idea of losing strength, power and ability in my legs–in other words, not being a confident biped–seemed ludicrous.

So I foolishly and often recklessly utilized my motoring abilities by foot without any regard for the fragility of the practice.

About ten years ago–due to my obesity, activity and sometimes even abuse–my knees, ankles and hips began to complain ferociously by welcoming pain and discomfort into my life.

It gradually got worse and worse, to the point that today, most of the time, I have to use a wheelchair to get to my destinations.

It is odd. I took it for granted. Now I lust as I watch others walking along confidently.

I’m not angry. There is no resentment.

I don’t feel I’ve been targeted by life to be relegated to a diminished capacity.

But I am fully aware that if other things want to go, I must struggle to encourage them to remain.

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Awkward

Awkward: (adj) causing or feeling embarrassment or inconvenience.dictionary with letter A

I suppose I could take the popular position and insist that “I was born this way.” I would receive empathy and maybe even support from those who would agree with my assertion or share my dilemma.

I cannot remember a time in my life when I was not fat.

Yet I have to tell you that taking personal responsibility for it and realizing that even if my body has a predilection towards obesity, that I can discourage its wishes, is powerful.

The truth is, being fat is not only unhealthy, it’s a constant burden placed on your torso, lending itself to many an awkward situation.

  • As a child I ran and played but not without wheezing.
  • I wasn’t fast enough to get to first base on a hit called a single. For me to get to first base, I had to hit a double.
  • I’ve never been comfortable with my clothes off.
  • Generally speaking, I made sure that every place I was seated would be wide enough or hold my weight.
  • When rejected by a girl, I needed to question whether it was because of my blabber or my blubber.
  • Until I was twenty-five years old I never wore a pair of shorts in public. Much too awkward.
  • Until I was forty years old, I refused to get into a swimming pool until everybody around had turned their heads and were involved in some other activity.
  • And today, because I have led an active life, my knees are worn out, causing me to use a wheelchair to handle long distances.

It’s awkward.

I’ve never been able to sustain myself on my visuals only, but have had to rely on my emotions, spirit and mind to compensate for my body.

Now, before you go to weeping or preparing a lecture about my eating habits, let me tell you that I’ve already cried enough tears and pursued enough diets.

Now I try to eat as healthy as I possibly can, exercise to my capability and realize that awkward does not need to be a nasty situation.

Actually, awkward gives us enough vulnerability that people understand our humanity instead of resenting our perfection.

 

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Abernathy

by J. R. Practix

dictionary with letter A

Abernathy:  Ralph David (1926-90).  U.S. minister and civil rights activist. He served as president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) from 1968-1977. His autobiography, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down, was published in 1989.

Mr. Abernathy grew up believing, or at least being told, that he was a “nigger.” It was an era when people didn’t consider the word to be particularly derogatory, nor did they refer to it as the “n word.”

What often surprises me about great men and women of history is not so much that they did great things, but rather, the obstacles they had to overcome to forgive the world around them of ignorance so that greatness could be pursued.

How many times did someone call Abraham Lincoln a scrawny, backwoods lawyer? How many times did Alexander get criticized before somebody figured out he was Great? How many times did FDR wonder if he was just insane for trying to lead the free world from a wheelchair? And how many times did Jesus Christ have to be called a sinner before he got the opportunity to save sinners?

That’s what impresses me.

Mr. Abernathy, how did you survive the meanness of your world and come up with enough grace to continue to struggle, love and outlast the insanity to see “the walls tumble down?”

People of history are not beyond my understanding. They all have one thing in common–they knew how to turn down the noise.