Disability is relative and not a good determinant for value.
Our family recently found ourselves in need of a new dog to be a companion to the hyper one we already had. With our family’s make up of various medical conditions, we got excited when J saw pets with disabilities. When we realized they were close to it, J started combing through their dogs looking for an ideal match. We all piled in the van and headed off to meet a one-eyed dog in need of a home. However, the one-eyed dog was intimidated by our loud and crazy 4 kids and hyper dog. It wasn’t going to work…but thankfully the lady who runs the place thought of another of their dogs who might match.
Ziggy had his back legs/hip hurt when he was younger, but he is such a bundle of happiness. He loves everything and everyone. He trots after our hyper dog or plays stationary defense when he gets tired. He lets our two-year old lead him around. The biggest “disability” he seems to suffer is an inability to jump. When I talked about him to my coworker, she said, “That’s a disability? I wish my dog had that disability.” I figure his making the most of life without being able to do something other dogs take for granted just means he belongs with us.
Last week, I had a conversation with my son about MS in my life.
O: “Do you ever wished you didn’t have MS?”
Me: “I used to wish that I didn’t have MS, but over time I have come to accept it as just a part of the hand I was dealt. I realized getting angry about the head aches, lack of dexterity, poor memory, etc. was not really helping me. In fact the more I focused on it, the worse I felt. In truth, I think I hit the lottery when it comes to the hand I have been dealt to live. I grew up with parents who cared about me. I’ve always had enough to eat and opportunity to learn. Now I have a beautiful wife, four kids, a good home and some dogs to keep us company.”
O: “The headaches and stuff suck though. I wish you didn’t have it.”
Me: “At this point I think wishing things like that is about as useful as wishing I had been born with the talent to be an NFL star making millions of dollars. Wishing to be other than I am seems to belittle so much of what I am and can do. I am probably not going to gain fame from my singing unless you can figure out how to make me famous for how poorly I sing and dance. My bet is you will not grow to be the tallest man in a generation. I think there are still a ton of things you can do with your life. Should I waste time wishing you were a giant or just appreciate you for the smart, athletic and empathetic kid that you are?”
O: “I guess that makes sense. It’s your whole thankful for what we have bit again isn’t it?”
Me: “Yup. Our family all came together bonded by our ability to live with medical conditions. I can not wish too hard for us never to have had our conditions. Without them, we might never have met, much less become a family.”