January 29, 2015

Understanding Disability

So true story...

There is a wonderful lady in the workplace...one of the nicest people. 

Unfortuantely, she has a disability and it is not easy...at times, she expresses to me the pain and the challenges, but always she maintains the best attitude and is an inspiration to everyone here. 

Not to compare, because thank G-d, I have been so blessed, but with the hip replacement and various complications, I have come to better understand physical pain and difficult mobility. 

Sometimes, as people do, we ask, "Why?"--and often we just come to the refrain that "G-d must have his reasons"--to teach us and to grow us in some way. 

Well, in speaking with this lovely women, she must have heard me really listening and understanding or seen my empathy with her, because at one point, she starts nodding and goes almost with surprise, "You really do understand."

Then she adds something about it being so odd for a manager to understand these things. 

I was so humbled by what she said, but more important. I felt a light bulb go on over my head. 

Why does G-d give us the challenges we face in life (physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, etc.)?

Because it helps us to truly understand and emphasize with other human beings...to be compassionate, caring, and giving (not self absorbed, narcissist, and me-me-me!)

In a sense, only by knowing the pain and suffering of others (or some elements of it--"Been there," "Experienced it," "I Know where you're coming from!"), can we substantially make that ultimate human and spiritual connection.

No, I am not saying we all have to be in horrible pain and misfortune--G-d forbid--just that the reasons for pain and suffering in life is not completely a mystery. 

My father used to say, "If we didn't have suffering, we wouldn't know or appreciate how good we have it the rest of the time." 

But it's also that we won't know or understand the challenges our neighbors, friends, and colleagues have--and adequately care for and about them.

G-d in his infinite wisdom has his ways to teach us--it should be with ultimate mercy, in good health and peace, and not pain and suffering--but when we oursleves are challenged, doesn't it open our eyes to see others and the world in a whole new and "better" way? ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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