Was that good or bad? It was good, I suppose, to the extent that I had focused on what he was doing rather than how he was doing it. But it was also bad because I had overlooked an important part of his reality.
I don't mind it at all if you can accept me and listen to what I have to say forgetting that I am in a wheelchair. But I will mind it very much if you invite me to a party upstairs where there is no elevator because you forgot that I am in a wheelchair.
Whether I like it or not, my disabilities are an inseparable part of me. I don't want to be judged by my limitations, but neither do I want these limitations ignored.
After 49 years in a wheelchair it is hard for me to imagine what life would be like without my disabilities. I'm not even sure I would want to be free of them, since without them I wouldn't be enjoying my present job and without them I would have missed out on almost every important event and exciting adventure I have enjoyed over these many years.
Therefore, if I am going to live well, then I must learn to live well with my disabilities. And if others are to go on living with me, then they, too, will have to learn how to live well with my disabilities.
I cannot control how others react to me. I can only control how I interact with them. The more comfortable with my disabilities that I appear to be, the quicker that others will learn to be comfortable with me.
I cannot have contentment in my life without making peace with my disabilities and limitations. I do not have to want them or like them, but I have to be determined not to let them interfere with my living as full a life as possible. I acknowledge and respect my limitations and needs, but I refuse to let them be the center of my life. I live with my disabilities, not for them.
Peace comes when there is harmony between what I am and where I am going and what I want to be. My life has value, because it is going somewhere. It is not there yet, but every day it edges a little closer. Keeping peace with myself means keeping active. Even rest chosen and enjoyed is peaceful activity.
Ronald’s Rules for Contentment
Rule One: Don’t make your happiness depend
upon conditions you cannot control.
Rule Two: Always look for the bright side of things.
If there is no bright side, then turn on a light.
Rule Three: Hope for the best, but don’t deny the worst.
There is a verse I like to quote:
Two men looked through prison bars.
One saw mud, the other stars.
Both men were right. Each of them saw what was there. But they saw only a part of what was there. If you only look up and admire the distant view you are in immanent danger of tripping on a rock or trampling in the mud. If you only look down you are in danger of overlooking many of life’s opportunities. Life is a mixture of mud and stars. To lead a happy life means to find happiness with both.
We have to learn to see and try to enjoy the whole of life, not just the parts we want, because whether or not we like it we have to live through the whole of it, not just the days of sunshine and roses. We have to make up our minds: not to shy from our troubles, but to face them; not to run from difficulties that will hit us anyway, but to work them out; not to close our eyes to the mud, but calmly put on galoshes and continue on our way.
Photo from Ronald's archives
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|Written by : Robert Ronald
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Other articles by this author
- A Lesson From the Blind (09 December 2008)
- Robots and Humans (21 November 2008)
- The salt of the earth (17 November 2008)
- Me and my dreams (14 October 2008)
- Hooray and alas for the national debt (14 October 2008)
- Being cool (23 June 2008)
- One small step for man... (11 June 2008)
- Take time for discernment and followup (29 May 2008)
- A Matter of Poetry (28 March 2008)
- Poems on fatherhood (21 February 2008)
- The lessons of Hansel and Gretel (31 December 2007)
- On the Death of a Friend (19 December 2007)
- The other side of the moon (17 December 2007)
- The ambiguity and the challenge of being Asian (21 November 2007)
- Expecting the unexpected (05 November 2007)
- The Sidewalk Vendor (25 October 2007)
- The twisting and not so narrow road (19 October 2007)
- On Living With Problems You Cannot Escape (18 October 2007)
- My First Fifty Years In Taiwan (17 September 2007)
- Five easy ways to turn your friend into your enemy... (14 September 2007)
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