I don’t care what anyone says, the smile inside a disabled man’s heart is bigger than any man’s heart who is able bodied and shovels a driveway. I am smiling big on this one! It gives me pleasure whether it is pasted all over my goofy face or not! I shoveled our driveway without any help, and in reasonable time as well.

I’ve been thinking about this new label I have through all of this injury business. “Disabled”. Some will be offended that I think that way of myself. Not because they don’t like the fact that I am working on embracing that label, although some would struggle with me “trashing” myself in that way. It’s the others, those¬†who have already spoken their small minds about the issue and told me that I am making a bigger deal out of the fact that I am injured and “disabled” than I should. I’m not really all that disabled; at least I don’t make that label justifiably in their minds anyhow.

Yes, there are some folks who are really pedantic asses and think that they alone have a grasp on how to “label” everything around them with much more justification and righteousness. Now before anyone else who feels that I am talking about them and wants to pounce back and set me straight, I will admit that I am NOT as disabled as many. It is by the grace of God and my CHOICE to fight back every day against the injury. I choose to heal. I choose to overcome my disability. Unlike able bodied and minded individuals who choose to opt out of ability. They actually have the ability and choose to opt out in some way or another. It then becomes their choice to reclaim their ability. Case in point – If you are physically fit, trim, sharp minded and socially apt, you can choose to stop exercising, put on weight, stop using your wits, and make a social outcast of yourself, but it is your choice. Sometimes it has little negative affect, but other times it goes too far and causes problems. You may then choose to gain strength through exercise, lose weight through diet, exercise your brain and so on in order to reclaim what was yours all along.

Injury is another cat from another bag. Once that sucker gets let out, there is no telling how it will tear you to shreds and take away something that you didn’t want to give. Cats get mean when they are smacked around in a bag and then let out. I actually can claim to know this for fact, in case anyone would like to argue with me on that point. For those who are injured, the smile of the heart is bigger when they gain something back that the injury took away. The wounds go deeper when the injury is caused by someone or something else, and it was no fault of the one injured. Those deep wounds take some time. And effort! And that makes me respect those who have disabilities. Every day I know what it is to choose to fight back against what was taken, and get it back. I have great role models, like the neighbor across the street who is a quadriplegic in a wheelchair and sometimes seems to be racing me to finish his driveway before I do, shouting that he feels sorry for me because he has an advantage getting done faster with his motorized chair. There’s the young man in rehab who fell out of a tree and broke his neck and had to learn to walk all over again. He’s no longer in the rehab ward because he struggles every day to get back what he lost and he worked things out! And there are plenty more who blaze a trail for the rest of us to follow and be encouraged.

Hat’s off to those who fight to regain what they lost, especially those who lost due to no fault of their own. I deeply respect and admire you for the everyday effort that you put in making things work better for you. I am a privileged individual stroke survivor. I can work hard enough to erase the effects of my injury completely. I work towards that every day. That’s why I can smile at a shoveled driveway that I did all by myself (send hero cookies to my home address, please). And to those who fight to regain what was theirs all along by choosing to get healthier, challenge their minds, patch up awkward social situations, etc., a tip of the hat to you as well. Choosing not to let go of the good that is yours if you choose it. RESPECT to all. Peace out!