Before He sent his children to earth
Gave each of them
A very carefully selected package
He promised, smiling,
Are yours alone, No one
Else may have the blessings
These problems will bring you.
And only you
Have the special talents and abilities
That will be needed
To make these problems
Now go down to your birth
And to your forgetfulness, Know that
I love you beyond measure.
These problems that I give you
Are a symbol of that love.
These monuments you make of your life
With the help of your problems
Will be a symbol of your
Love for me.
intro thought to Charlie's Monument by Blaine Yorgensen
How many of us know 11-year-olds who willingly place themselves in front of the learning channel? and enjoy it? Jenna has always enjoyed learning. Always. From the time she was three and could pick out her own books from the library, we did check out picture books and easy reading like the “Frog and Toad” series.
But we would also check out a lot of non-fiction to answer her questions about bees and honey, or why certain dances are performed in different countries and why the sun doesn’t fall from the sky. She has always loved non-fiction books. She would play games of “Let’s pretend” to understand how it would be to be without sight or limbs. She never questioned why there were differences in humans. She just accepted them and has always tried to learn from them. Today she loves the learning channel.
Each morning after she gets up (which is actually quite early for a youth – I have never known Jenna to sleep past 7:30) she will turn to the learning channel to watch “Cake Boss”
it is because of advertisements of other programs that has held her interest in watching other shows – like “Born Without Limbs” featuring NickVujicic.
It’s fascinating to learn of others who have overcome what many of us consider physical challenges or obstacles and have often embraced their uniqueness and use it to help others. We all have choices after all. We can be bitter, or we can be thankful.
I, myself, have always enjoyed watching even a portion to the lives of “The Little Couple” – saddened that their lives may not be as private as perhaps each of us would hope, but happy that they have been willing to share so much of their lives with an audience – that we might learn.
Everyone has their challenges. I just think having a physical challenge seems to be more obvious in appearance than say an alcoholic or a mentally disturbed individual. On average, I don’t think we, as a whole, consider a floor plan and living quarters that works for us may not work or even be practical to someone who is an obvious different height or is blind or walks with a limp.
I have known overly tall people. My brother, Patrick (who really isn’t overly tall – just tall) could unscrew and screw in ceiling light bulbs without having to stand on something in order to reach – whereas my daughter-in-law seems to need a foot stool just to reach into the back of the freezer that may be placed above the fridge. I'm not overly short, but there was one side of the kitchen in which the cabinets were not within my reach unless I used a footstool to stand on or long handled spoon to push cans out.
I’ve known small people who have struggled at reaching to the “average height” world around them – perhaps not knowing better. It’s how they were born. It’s how they did things all of their lives. Nick Vujicici didn’t have limbs to begin with. I think it’s easier for a person to learn without than to adjust with what’s missing. I don’t know – I’m just thinking that.
I have known a wide variety of people from all walks of life. Some have physical challenges. Some are misguided and struggle to fit in. Some have struggled with balance. I don't think I've met anyone who hasn't had at least one challenge to either overcome or embrace.
We programmed our cable to record “I am Jazz” and “My Giant Life” as Jenna is genuinely interested in those – but they don’t start until after she’s gone to bed. I am grateful that she is learning and understanding and seeing differences and doesn’t judge but accepts and tries to embrace as well. I wish we would all have her understanding and eagerness to learn.
(I’m not saying she enjoys learning all things. She struggles with the clarinet. But Roland has purchased another (second hand, of course) and is planning to learn along side of her. That makes it easier for her. And I admire him for doing that. Learning the clarinet: their special bonding time together)