I am almost fifty-five years old, and I believe God has given me a new beginning.
Three years ago, an accident left me with a brain injury. I had to quit work, and since then I’ve often felt unneeded. Always a busy person, I suddenly did not know what I could do of any use to anyone else.
For the last month or more, I have a new spring in my step.
I have been blind my entire life. I never considered myself special, but I believed I lived an energetic, independent, constructive life. After my accident, I suddenly had more disabilities to deal with. I became angry and hurt, and believed other people saw me as disabled far more than when I was “only visually impaired.”
I’ve discovered who dropped this heavy weight of “disability” around me.
It was me.
I decided to give in to all the multiple disabilities. Even as I struggled to find new ways to use my life, I kept reminding myself to allow for what I couldn’t do anymore.
I have much less energy, and I have difficulty with balance. So I let my family do many things for me which I could do myself. I didn’t pick up much work around the house. I worked on my writing and on my certification as a braille transcriber and proofreader, but I told myself it was okay if I didn’t feel like doing much of those things with any strong or regular effort.
I have hearing loss, trouble with memory, and difficulty completing sentences and finding the right word. So I allowed myself not to be n many groups outside the home, not to try to carry on conversations.
All of these difficulties are true, but I decided I could use them to settle back and not be much of a participant in life. I was basically a sit in my easy chair kind of retired lady.
What changed a month or so ago? We bought a dishwasher, and I decided to start doing the laundry again. Seriously. I know it’s more than that, but it’s amazed me how doing these household chores has made me feel useful again.
And my writing.
When I was a teenager, my dream was to be a writer. I sold a few short stories and poems to magazines. I was an author.
Then for more than thirty years, I allowed school, raising a family, and work to convince me I didn’t have much time for writing. I told myself that I’d take it up again when I retired.
I’ve always heard that God may not answer our prayers as soon as we want, and maybe not in the way we think he should, but he will answer them. I don’t remember if I prayed much about writing when I was a teenager, but God has certainly made my dream come true much later and in a much different way than I imagined.
When I couldn’t go back to work, I realized that now is my time to write.
For the last three years, I’ve worked on short stories, articles, and started a couple books. I’ve joined a critique group, and I take classes online and read books about writing. Over the past year, I’ve had three articles accepted by a magazine. Again, being disabled, I figured this was good enough. I didn’t need to put any more effort into it than I felt like. Relax and take it slow.
A couple months ago, a publisher asked to see a children’s book I sent them a query for.
This sparked some motivation in me to work more seriously and diligently as a writer. Stretch my limits, work more hours, take some risks, boldly ask God to bless my writing career.
I may never publish a book. My writing may be only for me, my family and friends, and my critique partners. But I’m going to put a new effort into it. It’s going to be a job that I put energy, time, and effort into.
At some points of the day, my mind races—with things I have to do around the house, writing projects I want to work on, research I need to do, critiques I need to finish for others. I’m not retired anymore.
Another result of my accident. Because of nerve damage, one eye needed to be sewed almost entirely closed, and one side of my mouth doesn’t lift. Vainly, I’ve worried that my face doesn’t look very appealing. But today, I was able to laugh about it with my husband Murray. “A wink and a crooked smile. Most people have to work at that, but I can do it without even trying.”
I know I’ll probably still have times when I’m discouraged and don’t feel useful. But one thing I know for sure, and thank God for. I can still be productive, happy, and I don’t plan to retire for a long time.
James 1:16-17: Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Psalms 73:26: My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.