What is your passion in this lifetime? Is there an activity that gives you a case of butterflies or a shot of adrenaline in preparation? Mine was fly fishing. Every aspect of it filled me with limitless enjoyment even the snake encounters. Never cracked a book in school, but I loved studying the flow of a stream, landing a dry fly in the ideal spot and being rewarded with a tight line.
ALS eliminated most of my physical loves. I continued hunting adapting crossbows, shotguns and rifles for a wheelchair, but lost interest due to the limitations. I had to find a new passion with boundless possibilities for my limited body. I floundered around racking my brain. After going on the ventilator, it turned a fatal disease into a manageable disability for me. Being blessed with a second chance at life I wanted everyone to experience the joy and appreciation I felt. I disregarded my freshman English professor’s advice and began my writing career. I started an ALS list server that had several thousand members around the world nearly twenty years ago. I named it Living with ALS. I thought an appropriate handle for my mission.
Encouraging others drives me to see tomorrow. Selfishly, it is my therapy, because you never have to look far to find someone with a heavier burden. I met Heather Rose Brooks in the ’90’s. This earth angel suffered from severe Cerebral Palsy. She was a talker, but a complaint never departed her precious lips. How could I ever feel sorry for myself when all she did was laugh? I was introduced to Heather when helping her to speak with an augmentative communication system. We became fast friends. I never knew anyone more grateful than Heather. She would type two page thank you notes with a very spastic foot hitting a switch. The photograph below is of Heather at her senior prom. I had the honor of being her date! We had a blast clearing the dance floor!
Are you just going through the motions? Do you wake up thankful? Are you looking forward or anchored in the past? Passion up!