Mary, Did You Know?

For my Christmas article, I want to share my favorite Christmas song, “Mary Did You Know,” by Michael English .

I couldn’t say it better.


Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Would one day walk on water

Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters
Did you know
That your baby boy
Has come to make you new
This Child that you delivered
Will soon deliver you

Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Will give sight to the blind man

Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Would calm a storm by His hand
Did you know
That your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod
And when you kiss your little baby
You’ve kissed the face of God
Oh Mary did you know

Mary did you know
The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb

Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Is Lord of all creation

Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Will one day rule the nations
Did you know
That your baby boy
Was Heaven’s perfect Lamb
And the sleeping child you’re holding
Is the great I AM
Oh Mary

I Can Hear With My Eyes Closed

Although it sounds like one, this title is not a “Yogi-ism.” Periodically, don’t we all think like this: that we know more than we do because we’re blind to our offensive behaviors; especially when in the throes of a disabling adjustment?  Where is the disconnect?

I think we can be so self-deluded that we perceive our weaknesses as strengths and our ignorance as wisdom. You don’t know what you don’t know, right? These are our blind spots.

For example: When I moved to Alabama after my SCI, I believed my arrogance was confidence.  It took a friend to tell me, “Cynthia, you think you are God’s gift to Tuscaloosa, but you’re the turd in the punch bowl.” OUCH!

Here me now: If you don’t learn humility, you will be the burr under someone’s saddle and a lot of buckin’ will be goin’ on! Relationships get broken by this rodeo habit.

Un-deniably, our families and long-time friends see us through glasses of our past encumbrances, and hear our weaknesses through ear trumpets[1] (or Bluetooth if you’re technologically current), blind and deaf to the positive progressive changes.

Why? Because they’ve been there observing us through our childhood and adolescent stupidities, poor decisions, irresponsible words, and adult hang-ups.

It takes seven positives to negate one negative. That takes a lot of work; for what?  A family member to ask accusatively concerning positive change in your life, “When did YOU start blah-blah-blahing?” You know, as well as I do, that family suffers short-term memory loss but are champions of long-term memories. Just sayin’….

It’s difficult enough keeping open communication and trying not to offend in a “normal” relationship. So, what to do when tragedy strikes you or one you love, specifically with SCI?

It isn’t easy and it isn’t simple. It may be complex but it shouldn’t be complicated. (Go to Webster for definitions if you’re puzzled.) When things start to become complicated in my life, I re-evaluate my plan, my intention, and/or my motivation.

Since “it takes a village” for me to independently live my life, if someone who volunteers to help in some capacity has a conflict, or arrangements aren’t squaring up, or I judge that something isn’t important enough to do at that time, I cancel the plan. My wants do not trump another’s ease of living. Too much inconvenience is TOO MUCH.

There are always considerations when living with a disability. Keep your eyes and ears open. Like the title implies, many times there are discrepancies between what we THINK we see and what we THINK we hear.

Open your eyes. It facilitates hearing the truth.

[1] Ear trumpets showed up in the 17th century. (Beethoven used them in his hearing decline.) Because of the stigma associated to old age, they were hidden in fans, walking sticks, and even camouflaged in jewelry.

When Reality Bites

I’m a dreamer and a visionary. Some call me unrealistic; I’m creative and think out-of-the-box. Some say I’m too particular. I’m an unrelenting doer aka stubborn; and a rebel, because I’m not tied to the status quo.  Since living with a SCI, my body also has a mind of its own.

There are days that my fingers rebel–they don’t want to bend, grip, or squeeze. For those times, I’m realistic. I keep plastic glasses and unbreakable dishes, go without make-up, dress in something that goes over my head, struggle with hygiene issues, and drop LOTS of things.

When my fingers are cooperative, my hands decide to drop what my fingers want to hold, like my litter scooper. That’s when it’s easier waiting 24 hours to, literally, “pick up” hardened clumps of litter from the litter box than to scoop them.

On any of these given days when my reality bites (ramifications of disability), or the day thereafter, you will find one or more of the following items strewn on the floor throughout my home: magazines, books, pens with their to-do list or notebook, pillows, dental picks, my hair brush, my cat groomer, broken glass, scattered espresso grounds with brown streaks of espresso running down my cabinet (and brown wheelchair tracks when I forget they are there); even a meal, partially dried and thoroughly stuck to the floor under my oven. C’est la vie! (That’s life!) Or, that’s (only a SMALL part of) my life.

To add insult to injury, I used to be a neat freak; still am, somewhat. To keep my sanity, and sense of humor, I’ve learned to let go (pun intended) of what I can’t control. That doesn’t mean that I don’t cuss, cry, or throw something in frustration. It simply means: I push on. Quitting isn’t an option. (Read the “I quit. No, wait. Never mind.” chapter in my book, Views From My Chariot: A Wheelchair Oddity , for expensive frustrations!)

You can call me unrealistic, particular, stubborn, and/or a rebel. I don’t mind; you’ve a right to your opinion. But…

I KNOW: Thinking out-of-the-box to solve daily limitations and their frustrations instead of complaining about my circumstance, has brought me contentment and peace.

I KNOW: Being persistent and determined to live as independently as possible instead of expecting someone else to take care of me, has given me that independence. I’m grateful for it.

I KNOW: In respecting my life and well-being more than fearing other’s judgement of how I live it, I am gratefully responsible for, and happily free to reach, my potential.

I KNOW: As a result of dreaming and believing in my abilities instead of succumbing to a disability, I’m living my purpose.

Are you?

When reality bites, bite back…with a bulldog grip!