Monday, April 9, 2018

God Grant Me the Serenity to Adapt to Those Things I cannot Change


God Grant Me the Serenity to Adapt to the Things I Cannot Change

 I have lived for over 70 years with glaucoma and almost 30 years with cataracts.  For most of my life, I adhered to the Serenity Prayer and even made a needlepoint picture of it that was framed and hanging in my home for decades.  During the past year when my low vision went much lower, I destroyed that picture and rewrote my Serenity Prayer.  It says, "God grant me the serenity to adapt to the things I cannot change, courage to change those things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."  I also have a backup for truly impossible situations that says, “God grant me the serenity to walk away from those things I cannot change, courage to keep right on walking, and the wisdom to never look back.”

Acceptance requires no effort on my part.  It is a passive lack of action.  Adapting, on the other hand, requires a lot from me including patience and discipline.  It takes both to get through the day when doctors say, "There is surgery for you now, but you have to get the rest of your body healthy first."  What made my body sick?  Mostly impatience, biting off more than I could chew, and choking on acceptance.

I am adapting to the reality that a 70 year old woman with a disability faces three categories of discrimination.  I am adapting to the reality that screen-readers used by the blind and visually impaired have never and will never be compatible with computers used for job searches and social media until software engineers and companies make that a priority.  I am adapting to living on Social Security in subsidized housing while spending many hours learning, Braille and how to be self-employed with the help of courses I am taking from the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Adapting is not so bad when you are doing what you love.  I am writing again and self-published my children's book, The Misadventures of Mistletoe Mouse, by using Amazon Create Space.  I put the cart before the horse and now must learn about marketing and how to manage a writing business.  I also have to adapt to a new marketplace where books published by Amazon Create Space are not being sold in most independent bookstores or acknowledged for most Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators marketing activities as legitimately published.  I am adapting to this latest obstacle by returning to writing articles, poetry, and song lyrics rather than books until I am able to work with a literary agent.

While a 70 year old woman who is visually impaired faces obstacles when seeking employment, the opportunities for doing volunteer work is always an option where discrimination rarely exists.  Recently I have been appointed to advisory groups at both the Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired (www.hadley.edu) and the Xavier Society for the Blind (www.xaviersocietyfortheblind.org).

No one ever said loving what is left while living with low vision would be easy, but with patience, discipline, and background music from an Amazon Echo, it can be a lot of fun and very exciting.  My favorite song these days is “Ukulele Anthem” by Amanda Palmer, author of The Art of Asking:  How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help 

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