Sunday, February 21, 2016

Wanting More

In my Bible reading this week, I have been reading about the Israelites' time between Egypt and Canaan. They had seen God's hand in getting them out of Egypt and every day gathered manna from the desert floor that was provided by God. They also saw His leading by a pillar of fire at night and cloud during the day. With all this, they still complained that they wanted more.

I can look at them and wonder how they could dare ask for more. However, I can also see myself acting exactly the same. I ave been given so much in this life, but yet I'm still not happy and always ask for more. We say it is the American way to always want more possessions, but the Israelites had us beat.

Yesterday was the 31st anniversary of starting the quad life. In these years, I've been given more caregivers than I can remember. They have helped my family and I through every aspect of daily living and continue to do so. I know several other people living the quad life that don't have anywhere near as much.

My parents do more than I could ever ask for to help me and get me healthy and active. I am very thankful they were given to me and I don't deserve all they do from working to keep insurance coverage, staying up all night, and much more. Parents don't always stay around in situations like ours, especially not both.

First bike ride of 2016
The list continues with being able to work, talk at schools, have reliable transportation that I can use, good health, live outside of a nursing home, and more. I have been immensely blessed and cared for by God's providing all this life, and I still dare to always want more.

Last year's opportunity to use the bike in Des Moines was more than I could have imagined, but yet I want my own instead of traveling an hour to use it. I covet other people's lives that don't have to deal with so much of a physical disability and get to live on their own. Despite having clients and schools I regular speak at, I'm always wanting more and trying to increase the numbers.

Being content with what we have been given is a rarity and I am just the same as people and nations of ancient times. I know that all that I've been given can also be taken away just as quickly as my ability to use my body was these decades ago. As you go throughout this week, let's try to learn to be satisfied with what has been given, and thankful that we already have what is needed.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Special Inclusion

Last week, there was a short segment on the news (sorry, can't find a link) about a special needs prom. It was organized be different businesses and volunteers and a typical high school prom night for people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities. A friend on Facebook (disability advocate) wrote yesterday how she would like to see these activities stop and allow better inclusiveness in regular events. I can see arguments for both sides of the debate.

I was fortunate in high school that I could do pretty well every activity the school sponsored. In my last half of school I went to the Junior/Senior Banquet (our school's prom) both years my class attended. My group of friends just happened to be five girls, so we just dressed up, got a table for us and had a fun time. We didn't think anything of it, I was just part of the class and went along with the flow. For me, it was easy.

For some people though, I know they are uncomfortable being the only wheelchair user in a group, especially if it's a recent addition. Others may not like crowds or have trouble interacting in social situations. In these cases, I can see why something separate may be more comfortable.

Making an effort to include everyone, with or without a disability, should always be done. In most cases, this isn't too much of a challenge. Making sure events are held in accessible buildings and table layout allows room for a wheelchair takes some planning, but not much. If someone doesn't care for crowds, have them near a door where they can step out for a break and join the activities again later. No, I don't expect every game or activity to be accessible by mouth stick, although that be great, their should be a variety of options available for all.

One point was made though that businesses love sponsoring these events and telling the world. Advertising is great, but it can sometimes feel like it's being done just to say "look at what we did," instead of just wanting to help.

No matter if you're living the quad life or not, it's great to feel included in society. There are many opportunities to be had, but only if you go for them. That can sometimes be the hardest, but a source of strength is just a prayer away.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

February Observations

For the past few months, Iowa has been getting inundated with political commercials, phone calls, and politicians stopping everywhere. With caucuses held on February 1, it has thankfully come to an end, at least for now.

I don't get into politics much at all. Unfortunately, it looks like most politicians primarily just follow their own opinion or that of whoever pays the best. Our pastor at church gave a couple sermons on the importance of being involved in the political arena and making a difference for our country.

What he said is correct, I should get into it more, but I guess I don't see much good to try to promote. I'm not registered with a certain party and see good points, and bad points, from each. I always say I vote for the better of the two evils at election time and would have a hard time promoting one particular candidate.

Now that political reports are calming down, the nightly news has turned to other topics. For two nights, my local CBS station has been reporting on head injuries from playing football. One particular item was something called CTE from having too many concussions. It has no cure, or treatment, and causes many significant problems for sufferers such as memory loss and other symptoms. A man in central Iowa recently committed suicide after suffering from CTE.

A study of former NFL players showed that over 96% of the population has the condition. Multiple suggestions were given for better padding and improved testing after head injuries to try to improve the statistics. With this and other physical problems due to football, why don't they just outlaw playing it?

No, you will never eliminate absolutely everything that causes long-term injuries of any type. However, you can improve lives by stopping harmful behavior. As our pastor also said last week, it's just a game.

Maybe living the quad life with daily experience of physical problems makes me see it differently. At least after today one sport will be done for several months. We'll see what comes up in another week.