Most of us in the developing world really have precious little to whine about. Here's a story that makes that fact beyond abundantly clear.
If this story lifts your spirits, like it did mine, please say so in the comment section–&, o, yeah–please remember to share it on Facebook & Twitter w/your friends, so they can enjoy it, too.
BBB has been my motto for a long time. Some say it stands for "being blind bites." Others say it means being blind's a…" Well, you get the idea. I'd actually go so far as to say that being blind purely & unadulteratedly bites, & the same can be said for the other word as well.
Having said thus, though, I also have to concede that being blind does have its compensations. 1 of them, & perhaps the only 1, is that, periodically, some of the amazing people I meet among the blindness community generously give of their time & their lives to share their stories with me. Here is 1 of them. Since I don't have his permission, & I doubt he would ever agree to give it, I hide the details to protect this amazing gentleman's identity.
I first came in contact with him on 1 of the blindness-related mailing lists in the summer of 2k10, & we have had contact in what I would call "intermittent bursts" ever since. His particular vision is to share the tutorials he's created with his blind countrymen. It'll be a privilege & a pleasure to host his website.
He is from a developing nation. Having lost his eyesight in the mid-elementary years, he graduated from the school for the blind in his country, then went on to complete high school with his sighted peers. He followed that up by earning both a Bachelor's & Master's degrees. Those enormous accomplishments were followed by 5 years of spirit-crushing unemployment, during which time he volunteered at a facility to teach blind people how to use computers, despite the fact that he had been diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition that eventually ended him up in a wheelchair.
He landed a job as a legal assistant in 2k7, despite his disabilities. He is the sole support of 11 people, including his mom, as well as his several disabled siblings & their families. He turned some of his late father's property into a snack shop, & built 6 studio apartments as rental properties in order to provide additional supplemental income for the family.
So, why do I share his story? First, simply because it's amazing! Second, because I think it reveals the elements needed for a successful life. Those elements are, in my opinion, the following:
- He never bowed to peoples' expectations. No one expected a blind man from a developing country, never mind 1 in a wheelchair, to amount to anything. He proved them wrong.
- He never gave up. Surely there must have been many times during his 5-year stint of unemployment when he must have wondered why he bothered getting the degrees. Undoubtedly he had to question whether constantly applying for jobs he never got wasn't simply an exercise in futility. But he persisted–& he won!
- He was generous. He stood by his family & supported them, although, truth be told, I think some of those family members are far less disabled, at least physically, than he. He also makes it clear he wants neither money nor pity from others, & vehemently dismissed any concessions I might have been willing to offer regarding his hosting. He'd simply shoulder the burden of the cost himself in order to provide his tutorials to those who couldn't afford them.
- He was innovative–he came up with solutions such as the snack shop & the apartments to supplement the family's income. He procured the resources he needed to build & equip both, & he got the job done. Surely he had to have asked for help–but the kicker here is that he only asked for the help he really needed.
- He set goals for his life, & then proceeded to accomplish them. He didn't make excuses, & he didn't let what for many would have been paralyzing obstacles (pun intended) stand in his way.
- He had faith. He had faith in himself, he had faith in love, he had faith in at least some other people, & he had faith in a merciful God–a God that wasn't out to get him–a pretty tough thing, I'd think, given what he was experiencing.
- He was grateful. Instead of viewing his trials as reasons to indulge in self-pity, he sought the lessons to be learned, & he felt blessed when things began to turn his way, instead of feeling as though he had finally gotten what he'd so long been entitled to. He'd figured out a long time ago what many still haven't learned, i.e., the world doesn't owe anyone anything–it was here first. Thanks, Mark Twain, for pointing that out.
- He realized that he was not his circumstances. Physically, he was disabled, but his dreams could soar. He couldn't walk, but his thoughts could roam far & wide. He had no eyesight, but he never lost his vision of what his life could be.
If you have others you think I've missed, tell me about it in the comments section.
I am deeply indebted to this gentleman for sharing his story. I hope it has served to lift your spirits, as it has mine. Perhaps, when you have a spare moment, you'll send thoughts/prayers his way. I personally find myself doing it regularly.vision quest inspiration 022812