Finding a Place in the World
I do not have severe Cerebral Palsy by any means, and I live independently. But for two decades of my life (and on my birthdays in particular), I was angry.
Let me try to tell it plainly enough. I was a very premature, low birth weight baby born in 1961. I was not breathing at birth. The doctor who delivered me resuscitated me. I survived, but with some brain damage to the motor area of my brain and a diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. I do not have severe C.P. by any means, and I live independently. But for two decades of my life (and on my birthdays in particular), I was angry. I wished the doctor had let me die. I did not feel I fit in. I did not feel a part of the universe.
All that changed sometime in my forties. I don't remember exactly which birthday it was, and I wasn't looking for it.
All I know was my falling apart van was again in the shop for repairs and a co-worker was going out of her way to pick me up for work. Since she was a nurse, worked the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift, and we lived 45 minutes away, she was picking me up very, very early.
I stood in the bay window in my living room in the dawn light of February, a usually dreary time of year. As I stood there, the sun was rising, just like it had for every other morning of my life.
It struck me for the first time ever, as I was watching the sun rise on the day of my birth, that it was beautiful.
The sun turned a rosy and orange glow as I looked out past the bare black tree in my yard with the fork on top that birds liked to sit on, and the contrast was moving.
I was suffused with a sense of well-being and peace. This was where I was supposed to be and just as I was supposed to be. Suddenly the years of resentment dropped away and I felt at one with the world.
I had been laying the groundwork for a while, I know. I had been working on gratitude for what I had and doing my best to let go of my self-pity, a journey I started when I put down alcohol for good a couple years before.
It was hard work and not work I could do alone. My heart had stopped believing in life, and it showed. After much searching, I found that I knew there was something bigger than me in the universe. It was truly a moment of grace. Thank you Dr. Stewart.