I worked for many years with children and adults with severe physical and mental disabilities. I learned so much from the people who I worked with…I learned a life lesson from each one. The major lesson that I learned from all of them, is that everyone’s life has value, that we can all love, and laugh, no matter what our troubles or limitations may be. One of the most wonderful men I have ever had the privilege to know, showed me that in those times when you are not sure what tomorrow, or even the next few hours will bring, you can be happy living in this moment.
Paul was born with a rare neurological disorder that meant that his body was slowly twisting, crushing his internal organs. He had no mental disability, just a body that would not cooperate. He could not speak, but he sure could get his point across. He loved to play pranks on the other people in the program that he attended. He had a wicked sense of humor, but he needed someone else’s body to carry out his misadventures, and since I am always up for foul play, of course I helped.
We got into a lot of mischief together. Paul at 40, had already lived long past the predictions…no one with his disorder had ever reached 20…he knew this. He knew each day was a gift…it is how he lived his life, and how I would like to live my life. I forget sometimes, when the worries and pain of daily living get me down. Each time it does, I remember Paul and his laugh…yes he could laugh…and I think, maybe it’s not that bad after all. I may not know what tomorrow will bring, but today I have God, and the love of my family and friends, and really, I don’t need much more than that.
God bless, Julia