October 1 begins National Disabilities Employment Month AND National Cane Safety Month. Looking back, I’m amazed at my own progress! A year ago, these issues were not part of my active vocabulary.
The actual catharsis came while writing my book, and analyzing the steps I took to change my mindset toward my dual disabilities (vision and hearing loss) and writing about those life lessons. Reliving that time and the mobility training made me realize what a journey I really did take.
About that time, I encountered a vision-impaired online friend. She was the first friend I ever had who also had Retinitis Pigmentosa.
I started small. Though she lived in Australia and I in the US, it was like having an online penpal. Only she understood me better. In spite of her RP, she was a professional writer and blogger–exactly like me.
And through that friendship, a wonderful change took place!
I started becoming actively involved with other vision-impaired people.
How did this happen?
Quite by chance, or so I thought–I’m certain God planned for that to happen–I heard about a group called the Retinitis Pigmentosa Family Support Group. Like others in the group, I had never met anyone with RP before. But interacting with them made me feel like I was a member of a team. As is clear in the group name, we provide support to each other. And all of a sudden, I was not alone and I could share my stories with someone. Guess what else? My stories weren’t so terrible! People laughed with me. They had experienced the same thing, or something similar. They, too, sat on people in theaters. They, too, said “Excuse me,” to telephone poles and signs in error! They had their own stories and wounds from running into things. This group helped me to become more at ease with saying words like “blind” and “cane.”
I found out that I had come to the point on my journey that I could become a resource person. I could encourage! Because there are people at every stage imaginable in our 6,000+ group, I could learn and share what I had learned. This coupled with the book I was writing made me suddenly burst out of my blind shell!
I had originally intended to write a small booklet about my mobility training and share it mostly with the people in the RP Support group or at Christian speaking engagements. I thought it would take me about a month to complete. That was back in January. I planned to write the book in two parts: my mobility training and lessons and tips for those with low vision.
But when I got serious about writing it, this booklet started to take a different shape and have different outcomes.
I was the keynote speaker for a ladies’ retreat in May and thought for sure I’d get the booklet out by then. But, no, I wasn’t finished. And my target market widened. I wanted to share my lessons with others.
So. Many. People.
Blind. Vision-impaired. Sighted. Heart-impaired (Cynical), Christians, those I knew, those I didn’t, those with other mobility issues, those who wanted to be inspired by a good true story, those who wanted to be inspired by our awesome God, those who like to laugh, those who don’t like to but need to learn….
I couldn’t be silent! The floodgates opened. I typed and shared and honed …this booklet became a proper “book.” It turned out to contain the bigger story of the challenges I faced and how God changed my mindset about them. I finally finished my book last July. I had planned to finish at a different ending point. But when I completed Chapter 23, with my final mobility training, I knew it was done. It took my breath away! It was so right. SO me.
Around the time I finished the book, I took an even bigger step. I got involved with an outreach program put out by the American Federation for the Blind. I became a peer adviser for VisionAware. This changed me even more.
And made me more grateful. Suddenly I had a ministry. I wanted to bring awareness to and bridge the gap between the sighted and the blind, and I wanted to encourage both groups. It was an exciting discovery!
Since then I’ve gone through a lengthy review, editing and formatting process with the book. It’s nearly ready.
Celebrate with me the arrival of my new memoir:
MOBILITY MATTERS: STEPPING OUT IN FAITH.
Magically, it comes out during National Disability Awareness Month and National Cane Safety Month.
Could life get any better?
How is your life changing? Which direction are you going that you would never have anticipated? What “bad” thing have you gone through that “good” came out of?
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