A Journey with Bare Feet on Sharded Glass

Hawaii Beach

We might be tempted to think that life should be as easy as walking on soft, powdery sand.     I don’t know how this idea started or, even, when it started.  Certainly, it was not the mindset of people 100 years ago.  Our grandparents knew that life was hard.  Not only did they experience civil wars and world wars in their lifetime, they knew what it was like to miss meals and live without heat and clothes.  The Great Depression was a hard taskmaster, but those who lived through the tribulation learned valuable lessons: work is hard, health is precious, happiness is a choice, and life holds no promises.

My grandfather managed to get his wife and young son out of Eastern Europe between World War I and World War II.  When she arrived in the United States, my grandmother worked as a cleaning lady at night and prepared all homemade meals, cleaned her home, and used a wringer washing machine to wash clothes.  They were hard-working people, and they were happy with their simple life.

But, not us.  Even with bombings, terrorism, and school shootings, we persist in our fantasy that everything is possible if we just believe.  Somewhere over the rainbow, we adopted a cultural delusion that “dreams really do come true.”  In fact, we hear it, we see it, and we proclaim it as “the American Dream.”  We all know the mantra: If we work hard, we will be successful (as in rich); if we fail, then we didn’t try hard enough.  If we dream it, we deserve it.  All of our aspirations are within our grasp.

What happens when dreams fail?  How do we cope with disappointment?  I would venture to guess that there are more people on the road of sharded glass than on the ladder of golden rungs.  Our lives have left us in pain as our ambitions bleed onto the landscape.  Nevertheless, hope does spring forth from the sanguine fluid.

Being disAbled has afforded me the opportunity to meet many people facing chronic illness, pain, and the accompanying fear and disappointment.  We belong to an exclusive club as our lives are parsed out in days segmented by fatigue and frustration.  Still, I am amazed at the presence of hope.  Of course, we have our days of ranting against the system.  We are ignored, marginalized, and patronized.  Yet, we are a positive, realistic bunch.  How did this happen?

Living with a chronic illness requires adaptation.  As we adapt, we learn how to be creative and flexible.  Just like the Great Depression taught our grandparents hard lessons, our suffering has schooled us on being patient, persistent, and prepared.  We have faith.

The road might be paved with broken glass, but because we have faith, we have hope.

 

Published by

Rose Wolfe (Living Free with disAbilities)

Let's get to the elephant first: I have myotonic dystrophy which defines my physical limitations, but it does not define me. Without the distraction of physical activities, I have found my passions: (1) Encouraging others to live more fully with fun, faith, and hope; (2) finding freedom in oil painting; (3) writing about my experiences; and (4) encouraging others to live more passionately. It is my belief that every person lives with at least one disability - for impairments are not limited to those with chronic illnesses. Many neurotypical people are psychological architects who have constructed enclosures in which they trap themselves. Mindsets, attitudes, and perceptions are fluid realities. Many of us have forgotten that it is possible how to live beyond our disabilities. Life may have challenges but faith and hope are within reach. I have made my choice: I am LivingFreeWithdisAbilities.

9 thoughts on “A Journey with Bare Feet on Sharded Glass”

  1. The part about how we cope with disappointment because of the false American dreams reminds me of that bible verse, “hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such words of wisdom! (Your Grandma sounds like my Grandma L.!) I’m so glad we were born at a time when we could have an idea as to what the past was “really” like, and in turn hopefully impart some of that knowledge to the younger generation(s). But will they listen? Some do, but unfortunately….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A brilliant post.

    We hold the wrong things close to our hearts, whereas it is people who are more important than material wealth, and the little things that are the everyday things where we ought to find appreciation. I like the Thanksgiving you have in America, which is bigger than ours in England.

    I think greed begets greed and leaves us ugly inside.

    The human spirit is strong! Yes, we can choose happiness – a quieter, deeper, different kind – despite and because of poor health.

    🙂 🐻 💟 🐞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes to everything in your comment! I love the insight that happiness is a “quieter, deeper, different kind – despite and because of poor health.” Suffering changes a person. The more that we suffer, the deeper we need to dig. This very reason is why you have depth of emotion. It shows in your writing.

      Liked by 1 person

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