I have a friend Kris who was born with CP. Back in the day it was hard for youth with CP since often they were not in regular schools depending on the extent of their disability. I have another friend with CP who I met as an adult who also has inspired me. Both these friends grew up and got great educations and in spite of their disabilities have moved forward with totally complete lives. Their bodies do not work the way they could have but their minds are such a gift to us all.
They both have loving spouses and children. They have careers that take them forward in their areas of interest. You might ask why these people have inspired me. Over coffee one day Kris shared a moment in life when life changed. It was one of those childhood moments of being tormented by children on the playground which was very familiar to me. He had had the courage to confront the other kids and stand up for himself. When he told me I started to cry. In my life I had never had that kind of courage that I know of. Someone else always did it for me so I never had to do anything to stand up for myself. It was a life changing moment for me and I could see areas of my life that I needed to work on. I was thankful for that opportunity to learn about myself.
My other friend wrote an amazing book of poetry aimed at explaining to the common man what it is like to live in the world as a “handicapped” person. It is such a powerful book which talks about the looks on people’s faces when a person with CP walks by. What the person with CP sees and how they react to those looks or statements. I learned a lot from this book and gave it to several other friends of ours.
The strength of character of these two people not only made me see how flawed my thinking had been but also gave me direction for living.