Blog: Compassion and Adversity

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This post is going out to my friend, Donald.

Donald has been a quadriplegic for over thirty years! That is a long time to be a quadriplegic!

He is an incredible person. I only met Donald recently as a member of my church congregation. I am also presiding over the children’s organization of my congregation, so I had Donald come and speak to the children about his situation and get to know him better.

The children always make Donald smile.

Click here to make a donation to Donald’s fund!

Donald was playing collegiate rugby when he was injured and paralyzed from the neck down. Yet, he went on to finish his degree, and receive a graduate degree.

Donald also became a convert to the church after his injury. The way I heard the story, it is pretty challenging to baptize a person my immersion when they are basically dependent on life support to perform the ordinance. But, he insisted and received special permission to perform the ordinance.

Donald is an incredibly resilient person. He is happy, and content to live his life.

He needs the assistance of a wheelchair (obviously) that he controls with his mouth by puffing air into the mouthpiece. The direction the chair goes depends on the duration of the puffs of air.

Donald required 24 hour care and monitoring. He talks very low, and needs to take frequent breaths as he is dependent on the tracheotomy but he is great to talk to!

Click here to make a donation to Donald’s fund!

Donald has a fish tank he keeps in his apartment for entertainment, and he has his cats that cuddle up onto his lap. He is even active on social media.

Recently, Donald gave a talk in church about adversity. He said he doesn’t have it so bad!

As a mom of four little ones, trying to juggle my responsibilities, it can seem overwhelming sometimes. I often get overanxious and lose site of what’s important.

Hearing stories like Donald’s and seeing his example of resilience through adversity is beyond inspiring. Donald touches the hearts of everyone he meets. He is so patient and happy.

And, I just think, man, if this guy can be happy, I have nothing to complain about!

Some people may wonder why would something like this happen to such a good person? Why do we have to endure adversity, and struggle? I believe that there are a few reasons.

Because 1) without opposition, we would not have the freedom of choice. Of course that means there is suffering, but without opposition, we would not have our agency.

2) Trials are designed to make us stronger, more resilient, but also to teach us that we need grace, we need other people to buoy us and assist us. I also believe that most crucial source of grace is Jesus Christ.

And 3) trials force us to rise up and answer the call of our hero’s journey to make of ourselves what we are meant to do in this life. I have said it before, I don’t believe we are meant to just sit back and allow life to act upon us, but we are here to make an impact in spite of our trials and adversity.

Donald is an amazing example of strength that inspires anyone who meets him.

Click here to make a donation to Donald’s fund!

I also think about how this message of resilience and happiness can influence my children and our family culture. If my kids can meet someone like Donald, and have compassion, and see his example, he will have a major impact on their lives.

One of the things I want to be a part of our family culture is compassion. Making compassion come alive is part of the habits and traditions that I can create by allowing my kids to meet people like Donald, or children their age in hospitals, or in poverty. One tradition I like to do is caroling for people in elderly care. Our kids need to see that by serving others, it isn’t about whether we are blessed for our service, or whether we can feel some kind of relief for our own trials, but that we are learning how to have compassion and look on others of the human family and embrace our differences.

I don’t see someone like Donald as needy or beneath me or anything like that. I see another human soul on a path of a lifetime trying to survive, be seen, and be loved. And I know he is loved.

So, here is why I’m posting about Donald today. He is one of the longest living quadriplegics ever. When he was first injured, his rugby teammates set up a trust fund for him, and he was able to receive some aid to fund his extensive medical needs. However, now that Donald has graciously lived so long, he needs his assistance replenished!

He has talked about one of those funding pages, but actually, if Donald receives too much aid, he will actually lose his government assistance!

However, if he gets a regular donation through his trust fund, to sustain him from month to month, he will be able to live for as long as his sweet heart can manage. If a handful of people could just offer a little bit, or even sign up for regular subscription, I know Donald would deeply appreciate it.

If this story has made any impact on you whatsoever, please go to http://homeandfamilyculture.com/donbridges/ and make a donation.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

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