We're holding off on tropes today to bring you something special - Nick Wilford's "Overcoming Adversity" Bloghop, in an effort to create an anthology for his stepson, Andrew, who is dealing with cerebral Palsy. Funds will be used to support his college education.
I'd first like to say how proud I am of Andrew. It is very easy to let life get you down, but it is also easy to forget that others are dealing with things that you could never imagine, or even wish on your worst enemy. That's not what this bloghop is about, though. It's about staring adversity in the eye and telling it, "no sirree! I choose my own destiny. I weave my own fate. This slice of life is delicious!"
I salute Andrew and wish him the best life this world has to offer.
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Adversity; it can take many forms - thrown at you from left field or self-imposed, intentionally or not. The greatest struggle in my life hasn't been my health or my body, but my ability to communicate and socialize. Over the years I think I've improved in some areas, but every now and then, I might say something that will set people off when that was the farthest thing from my mind. This has led to unwarranted accusations and a revelation of another's interpretation of me - what I "believe," what my motives are, and so forth.
Truth is, I'm such a laidback and easy going personality that I don't think such things about people. I have better things to do. Sure, I can always assume things and develop prejudice, but stewing over baseless thoughts does me and no one else any good. And so I ask questions, to help me understand people better. Once in a great while, those questions backfire. Badly. It was much worse when I was younger. Some have even accused me of having a mental disorder.
I haven't been officially diagnosed with anything, but you know what? It wouldn't surprise me if I had something not quite all right upstairs, that something about me isn't "normal" - and if I did, I would make the best of it, make amends, and learn from it. What else can I do?
But then there are those who, for whatever reason, saw past all that. Through their unique perspective, they were able to point things out about me and, without really trying, helped me in ways that will stick with me for the rest of my life.
I'll tell you a story. When I was nine, I didn't have many friends in my neighborhood (very few families with kids my age in the area), but then a family moved in with a boy my age. Finally! A playmate!
We got along great, right off the bat (come to think of it, we never did play baseball). One day, we played Monopoly. I was losing. I remembered seeing something in a movie where a character tossed the board and scattered the pieces everywhere. I don't know why I thought it was a good idea at the time, but I did that.
My friend stared at me. Right away, I started to think about what he might be thinking. Was he about to leave and go home? Would he yell at me? Call me names? Were we about to throw punches?
None of that happened. Instead, he looked right at me and said something that I will never forget - "Dude ... that wasn't cool."
Nothing baseless. Nothing rude. It was just the truth.
Without a word, he picked up the pieces and put the game away.
I haven't done anything like that since, and I have one of my best friends to thank for that. I have done other things, of course, but when people are willing to take the time to understand rather than attack, that makes all the difference in the world. That's how people change for the better. That's how adversity changes into relief.
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As an open letter, I apologize for anything I have said or done to make anyone think ill of me. My door is always open to perspectives. I may need more coaching than others, but I will figure things out. My journey continues, where I enjoy helping people when I can and if I know how (or don't, or think I know). This is an adversity that has stalked me all my life and it may take a lifetime before it goes away forever, but it is love and friendship that has shaped me for the better - and it is my hope that that love will never vanish.
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Thank you for hosting this hop, Nick! I hope the anthology you are compiling will find many readers and that Andrew will have the means to make his dreams come true. You guys are my heroes!
I'm David, and if we play Monopoly, can I be the shoe?