The rePurposed Life

The rePurposed Life

When I started writing this blog in February, I wanted to engage the topic of living outside of our disAbilities. After all, everyone struggles with a disability and not all struggles can be neatly categorized (nor acknowledged by the afflicted).

My disAbility is obvious. Your eyes rivet to my rolling chair as I enter the room. The first seconds of meeting, we negotiate a social awkwardness.  Eventually, I come up with a  lighthearted quip, hoping to put everyone at ease. With children, it is different. They stare at me until their parent becomes uncomfortable. I don’t mind their straightforwardness. They are real and honest with curiosity.  As our eyes meet, I smile and try to elicit a response. It allows me to engage with them about their unanswered questions.

Anyway, because I have failed and succeeded in my new role as a physically disabled person, I thought my focus would be on encouraging anyone who is struggling. My mistake was focusing on “disabilities.”

My life is not about my physical and mental limitations. It is about finding a rePurposed Life. Moving forward from a scared child to a petulant youth. . .until, finally, an earnest adult. But my disease changed me further.  It was another twist in the narrative of my life’s story – a page turner.

Because of (and in spite of) muscular dystrophy, I reexamined my life again. I found it wanting – lacking vision.  What did I desire?  Over and over, I asked myself to define my purpose. The answer exploded in my heart as I watched one, two, three, four, five people die. What legacy did they leave?  What legacy did I want to leave? To love others (family, friends, neighbors, enemies) and to encourage them.

Yes. It was time to take the focus off of me, the petulant youth who never grew up. I want a life that has meaning – with God centered.

No preaching. No condemnation here. Just honest conversations about how we think and what we do.

So, I am thinking about renaming my blog from Living Free with Disabilities to The reRepurposed Life. (The url will remain http://livingfreewithdisAbilities.com.) What do you think?

Five Steps to Hope in a World Gone Mad

Heart of God

Personal struggles explode into public arenas.  Those with shredded souls seek disconnection – wanting to destroy what they don’t understand.  They claim their hate is an act of love.  In the aftermath, not only is flesh bleeding out, but  also the hearts of those who hate the hate.

Challenges are now part of every life as we claw at the chains to live beyond the prison of madness. In an attempt to throw off the albatross of hopelessness that has been tossed around our shoulders, we can actively take steps to find hope.  It will require courage.

Courageous Step One:  Have faith that we are the difference (not will be, not can be, are).  We hold the key.  Let’s examine our thoughts.  What messages are we telling ourselves all day, every day?  Put aside anger, jealousy, and revenge. As we change our thinking, we will evolve.  Let’s answer the call to accept, tolerate, and love others.

Even as we continue to face lunacy, our standards of behavior must not waver. During World War II, resistance movements existed in every occupied country. The current war is not limited to countries. The other world wars were misnomers. We are in THE World War.

Courageous Step Two:  Plan a course of action.  Even though we are being forced to travel on a road paved with the souls of innocents, let’s work patiently toward positive change. We have choices of how to behave in every situation.  The time to sit on the sidelines has passed. We can no longer wait for someone else to make sense of what is going on in the world.  It is senseless.

Courageous Step Three:  Find purpose in the small things.  Everything we have experienced or are experiencing has life-giving potential.  As we work through the pain, let’s look for the gift.  How can our heartbreak work a greater good in us, in others?  What can we learn?  How can we show compassion?  Some of our greatest moments are those when we touch the life of another. Replace selfishness with selflessness – one act at a time.

Courageous Step Four:  Don’t condemn others.  Mankind has always acted with inhumanity against humanity.  Let’s not fall into the trap of hating in return.  Attaching reason to a madman’s behavior is impossible.  We cannot comprehend the motivation behind someone who is willing to shoot people at random, bomb an airport, or run over bicyclists.  At the same time, letting our hearts be poisoned by their actions will kill us, also.

There have been too many atrocities.  It would be easy to focus on the horrible actions of others.  Nevertheless, we need to start with ourselves.   Examine our lives.  Do we condemn what we don’t understand?

Courageous Step Five:  Believe in God.  Let us take an honest look at how we have managed our lives.  Have our choices served us well?

For me, my faith in God gives me the strength to hope and to act.  It is hope which has kept me going through my darkest struggles.

As you may already know, for the last year, I have been looking at my life and how I treat people.  I am convinced that it is possible not only to love my neighbors but to love my enemies, as well.  What has happened and will continue to happen in the world is demanding that I move earnestly towards my destination.

However, I know one thing:  The madman is mad.  He gave himself over to evil.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but . . . against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12, NIV.)

I have hope.