Why We Need Stories Of Disability

It may seem odd that as a good-news website, we feature countless stories of people with disabilities. The deliberate reason is, they give us hope. Hope for abundant happiness in life despite being deaf, or having no arms, or, like the 22 year old college student in today’s video, living with spinal muscular atrophy. Their ability to focus on what one can do versus what one can't do reminds us all we can be happy with what we have if for a second we just stopped complaining about it.

The caption over a photo recently posted on I Waste So Much Time, sums it up well:

 

If he can smile, so can you.

I Waste So Much Time

You wouldn't wish this boy's plight on your worst enemy, but there he is, smiling beside a lifetime of prosthetic limbs. I'm sure there are times when he wishes things were different, that he could know what it's like to feel the grass under his bare feet. Everyone has bad days where it's all too easy to wish for things to simply be better. However, that doesn't mean an imperfect life has the power to break us. Making the effort to be happy despite the things we can't change is, in itself, a reason to rejoice. The boy pictured above doesn't look like he's faking it. He looks not only like he's dealing with his disability well, but that he's also proud of it. He was born that way, and it doesn't look like he's in for a life filled with remorse and bitterness.

Nick Vujicic, a man born without any limbs at all, has made a successful career out of his life story. One of his lectures was posted on Youtube, and to date it has 36,978,732 views. After watching it myself, I'm not surprised at how viral it went.

Vujicic isn't invited on stage because he's surviving. His story is rare, which certainly grabs our attention, but what keeps us listening to him is his humor, his wit, and his sense of clarity. His stories are more than, "I have no limbs and I haven't starved." He gets specific and wastes little time in talking about his worst fears and how he was able to move past them.

For example, he thought he'd never be a good husband because, "How can [you] be a good husband when you can't hold your wife's hand?" but those worries were quelled when he realized that, although he can't hold her hand, he can still "hold her heart." You don't need hands to captivate someone's imagination, or fall in love. Essentially, that's what we want to hear. We want to know that whatever wounds we acquire won't cut us off from certain parts of life. We want someone to prove that a bad day might be a blessing in disguise, and when a good day rolls around (and they always do) we'll enjoy them better having been through hell.

A good goal for this week is to consider what scares you, and imagine Vujicic diving into the deep end of a pool with no arms or legs to tread water. That is literally (and I mean literally) a leap of faith, and he does it laughing. He, and every amputee, and every deaf, blind, heartbroken, and downtrodden person who gets back up with the intention of being better than they were before is a living reminder that life is hard, but we can handle it.

Rescue, Transform, Share: How an Ohio Soup Shack Is Saving Lives

"It really does take a village to help people," says Sandra Lettie, a volunteer with La Soupe in Cincinnati, Ohio. La Soupe is helping to build and activate just such a "village" of compassionate people from the local area around the goal of producing food from discarded produce and providing it to families in need.

According to La Soupe's CEO, Suzy DeYoung, the organization's central mission is to "rescue, transform, and share." First, volunteers with La Soupe visit grocery stores and farms to pick up produce that was going to be discarded and "rescue" it for use in the soups that the team creates. That produce is then "transformed" into healthy, delicious food by the chefs at La Soupe. Finally, the food is "shared" with those in the local community who need it.

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Sweepstakes Winner Gets Unforgettable NASCAR Experience!

Stacy Comilang from Preston, CT., likes to think of herself as a "need for speed" kind of girl. She is a fan of NASCAR and had been to a few races while growing up in California. Even though she has never driven in a car much faster than the speed limit, or been in a race car, she would love to do both. Little did she know that when she casually entered a sweepstakes on the Coke website this past spring, that both of these dreams would soon come true!

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Man Goes on Cross-Country Hugging Tour To Spread Love

Hugging is considered to be a rather intimate form of affection across the US. Everyone hugs, but rarely do we ever hug strangers. Arie Moyal is willing to do just that. He is the founder and creator of the Hug Train, a national tour of free hugs to promote mental health awareness. Arie travels across the country giving hugs to strangers who are willing to give him an embrace.

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Dan's Coffee Runs Bring Warmth To Chemo Patients and Staff

Coffee and a smile are sometimes the best medicine. When Dan Dewey's father was being treated for cancer, Dan found himself following a routine in a situation which needed a little perking up.

Thus began what has become known as "Dan's Coffee Run". Every Thursday morning, Dan does a special coffee run for the staff and patients at the Michigan Cancer Institute in Bloomfield Hills, bringing Starbucks Coffee and a lot of smiles to the patients and providers at the cancer treatment center.

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This Organization Feeds Their Entire Community

If you are a kid and your bed is a lumpy, old couch or a cold, hard floor and you leave home for school without a regular breakfast, you will not excel in your classes. This daily struggle is shockingly common in many areas of the country and it sets many children on a downward spiral at an early age that is difficult to recover from. This is where Meals By Grace is making a difference.

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Anonymous Authors of Love Letters Uplift The Lonely

While it is exciting to see the bold type of a newly arrived email from an old friend or the pulsing dots of a long awaited text, there is still something special about the arrival of a hand written, stamped envelope in your home mailbox.

For those who are facing personal difficulties, adjusting to new circumstances, or just feeling isolated, the physical experience of handling a letter, opening the sealed side of the envelope, and sliding out a beautiful card brings the thrill and anticipation of contact with another person, something they may been missing for long time. Fulfilling this need is at the heart of an inspiring organization called "The World Needs More Love letters".

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A Father, A Son, And A Hockey Fan’s Dream Come True!

Coca-Cola, Shaw's Supermarkets, and the Boston Bruins have teamed up to make one lucky Bruins fan's dream come true. After purchasing a Coke from Shaw's in the New England area, contestants were encouraged to enter for a chance to win a "Player for a Day Experience" with the Boston Bruins.

The lucky winner's name is Mark Karolkiewicz. Mark has been a Bruins fan his whole life and even though he had the opportunity to be a Bruins Player for a Day, he selflessly gave the prize to his son Eric Karolkiewicz, also a die-hard Bruins fan!

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Dancing Away From Illness And Onto The Stage

The hall lights dim…..a hush comes over the audience … the command "places everyone" is given… there is a palpable stillness in the air as the first notes of the opening piece float out of the speakers and hover above the stage…. the curtain rises with a whir … the lights come up… its time …

These are the moments a performer lives for. The hours of solitary sweat and toil practicing their craft in sparse, small rooms, are the dues required for the joy of putting their skill and craft out there for an audience hungering for something special and moving.

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