Guest Author - Rann Patterson
The Wintertimes of Life
Every single solitary day, a cancer survivor has reason to celebrate. But we all have our ‘off’ days, when the seasons of the heart seem to be in wintertime, and no warm sun is to be found. Sometimes it’s emotional struggles, and other times maybe it’s physical pain that keeps rearing its ugly head. Whatever your situation is today, I hope this article will inspire you. I believe it will.
Joni Eareckson Tada and Quadriplegia
I first heard of Joni Eareckson Tada when a movie was made about her life. No, she’s not a Hollywood personality, although she lives in California. What first caught my attention about her, was that she painted by holding a paintbrush between her teeth. The reason for that is because Joni (pronounced like “Johnny”) has been a quadriplegic since the age of 17. In the summer of 1967, right before heading off to college, she dived from a pier into shallow water and broke her neck. She has been paralyzed from the shoulders down since that day. She endured two long years in rehabilitation, where she suffered unbearable physical pain, and depression. She battled suicidal tendencies, and struggled deeply with her rattled faith.
Faith, The Patience of Job, and Giving Back
She did eventually recover emotionally and spiritually, and married Ken Tada. Together they run the Joni and Friend's International Disabilities Center, where they generously give out helpful information to people with all kinds of disabilities, host summer camps for families, and travel the world giving away wheelchairs to those who have been injured in land mine accidents, and who are victims of war. She still paints, writes books, and hosts a radio program. She continually gives inspiration and encouragement, like a well that will not run dry. She bases her strength on her faith, which God did restore, and never ceases to help those whose hearts have been crushed by injury.
Challenged Once Again - Breast Cancer
What does this have to do with a cancer site?, you may ask. After living in a wheelchair for forty years, Joni was diagnosed with breast cancer. Gulp. Did I just read that right? Yes, you did. I have followed her blog some on her web site, and she has gone through enormous trials, just like other cancer victims. However, during a television interview, she candidly told how hard it is for a quadriplegic to get their breath, inferring unusualdifficulty during chemotherapy and nausea. She spoke of having chronic pain, as well as the daily fight to stay mentally strong. Yet, this courageous woman with bulldog tenacity has once again pulled herself up and has gone back to work delivering those much-needed wheelchairs. I’m sure she has had to limit her schedule accordingly, but it seems that hurting people are always on her mind.
Summon Your Courage and Celebrate Anyway!
I don’t know how difficult your situation is, or what you must face every day. As hard as it may be, just try to imagine what life must be like for this one brave woman. My own challenges are difficult, and some days are just plain hard. But all I have to do is think about someone who is facing greater challenges than I am, and somehow my world doesn’t seem so bleak anymore. I think that’s what Joni does.
Source: Joni and Friends website offers generous information on a number of disabilities, and does so in a variety of ways. Besides what I listed above, there is a Daily Devotional in case you need a spiritual lift. This org also has info on Invisible Chronic-type Illnesses. You can request a pamphlet package by giving your email, or just call by phone. I received one and was touched by the scope of their obvious care. Go to: Joni and Friends to be inspired, and leave feeling truly blessed.