I read a short biography about a young woman named Hilary who was discovered to have the disease myasthenia at age 21. Muscle weakness slowly overcame her entire body until she was on a respirator and feeding tube. “She could not see, speak, breathe, swallow or move except for a sixteenth of an inch of mobility in one toe and a much lesser movement in another.” A special machine called a POSM was rigged that allowed her to type with this one muscle.
With this one means of communication she lived a vibrant, creative life for years. She wrote a book, had an incredible sense of humor (Hilary means “hilarious”) and even received an award from the Queen of England for the difference she made in the world.
This is a poem she wrote called “My Answer”:
“I’m often asked if I am bored,
My life abhorred.
And so I answer,
‘I am not’-
That now I can accept my lot,
Remind the sadly shaking head,
‘It is my body, not my mind, in bed.’
“I’m rarely frightened or in pain,
For this I thank my God again.
I have many loyal friends,
My joy in them despair transcends.
There’s music, too,
Books to read.
Discontentment cannot breed.
“Although I can no longer play
I can listen every day
To football, rugby, tennis, cricket,
Imagination has no limit.
Add to this
A sense of humour
Killing that ‘depression’ rumour.
“Now I have my Possum, too,
A miracle in all men’s view.
No longer do I have to wait,
My poems and letters to dictate.
Just flick my toe
And type myself.
I have no time to brood on health.”
Sometimes I hope a full life is something that will just happen to me when I wake up every day, but after reading Hilary’s story I wonder if a full life is something I work with Jesus every day to create –through thankfulness, a sense of humor, a choice to live for him as much as I can with what I’ve got.
Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)
Are you “brooding” on something today instead of choosing to live a creative, full life?
(Excerpts taken from Twelve Who Cared by Dorothy Clarke Wilson)