My days at work seem to be spent telling stories about complex situations. I’m a strategist by profession, which means I’m supposed to have a plan for anything. The problem is, as you may have noticed from my writing – planning and executing are not my gifts. Living and reacting in an ambiguous flux is more in line with my being. Ask me to plan a party and I fail. Have me turn a funeral into a party; now we have something to work with.
The stories I tell, those are all just experiences I’ve gathered over the years by using my heart as “story-bait”, chumming as it were, in hopes of hooking some big meaning in an increasingly meaningless world. I can tell this is so because when I start to tell those stories, people’s eyes, light up. Their heads actually begin to float with the ebb and flow of the tale; their lips and eyelids move in anticipation of a revelation, yet to be delivered.
I know their hearts are hungry for this relationship, simply because they pay attention, they relate, they want more. They’ve allowed themselves to separate the idea of acceptance and comprehension and the liberating effect of that delineation is the ability to simply enjoy something. Most people don’t dare to reveal their heart to things they don’t understand so they live only within the confines of things they understand.
Try to understand a severe disability and you immediately bog down in theology or philosophy. Try to comprehend them and you disappear into the rational world of medical science. Try simply accepting them and you suddenly see the beauty of a thousand fireflies on a warm summer night. You see the dance of night birds in the waning evening sky, you see the beauty that God, with ever so much pain in his heart, sees.
He sees the beauty beneath the emotional agony, the strength below the bruises, the sight behind her blind eyes. He sees the wisdom in her confusion, the passion in her obsessions, and the softness behind the cracked and calloused knuckles. Her gaited step is as graceful as a warm breeze over a wheat field – her fisted punch, carries the beautiful message of the seriousness of it all. He sees all this, he sees the pain, the damage, and he knows it’s not right. What he also sees is the purpose in all of it.
My heart, my story carries the tears that my bait has captured. Wisdom as a strategist means that I carry a message that touches the heart through the mind. God, the supreme strategist sees it the other way around; he uses my stories to touch the mind through the heart – the difference between the two approaches determines how you look at something as common as a stair step, a parking space, the pull of a door. It’s the only way disability becomes the only ability that we truly have.