When I was a personal trainer, there was a group of people with disabilities who would come to the gym every Wednesday morning to exercise. My boss (at that time) really looked out for this group and asked me to keep an eye on them. I looked forward to Wednesday mornings and my chats with the group. I spent time on the floor with them assisting them in their exercises and getting to know them. Some time later (the gym had new owners by then); I had decided to leave and spoke to one of the support workers to forewarn him that I was leaving in order to make the transition for the clients easier. He gave me the number of the organisation that he worked for and suggested that I get in touch if I decided on a career change.
The rest (as they say) is history. I began work with the organisation as a support worker within weeks and I am still there nearly 7 years later. I no longer work in direct support but in administration and finance but still have daily contact with clients. I don’t see the clients of our organisation as people with disabilities. They are just “Mary”, “Tom” or “Clemantine” (names changed for reasons of privacy). Each has a unique personality and like many of us, some are endearing, some are challenging and some just go with the flow. Some have me constantly laughing and smiling and some manage to ‘rub me up the wrong way’ on occasion. No different to some of my colleagues actually. We often joke at work about which of the clients is supporting a worker on any given day (rather than the other way around). It is a great place to work where the clients are the main focus – as should be in any disability organisation. Our organisation is a small non-government agency but is growing daily – particularly with the changes occurring within the disability sector on both a state and federal level at this point in time.
But that is not what I wish to talk about.
Each day I spend with the clients and my colleagues at work blesses me in some ways. Some days the blessings are more apparent than others. A couple of weeks ago, one of the clients wrote a poem for me. This lady is a wordsmith. She has books where she puts a letter at the top of the page and then fills the page with words beginning with that letter. She loves all types of word puzzles. And she writes poetry. She is a dynamo in a small package. I say that with much fondness because she fits under my arm and I am vertically challenged myself! 🙂
So when she gave me this poem, I was touched. She had taken particular care to rhyme the words. Although parts of the poem won’t make sense to those of you reading this, they make perfect sense to me because I understand her love of words. She allowed me to share this poem with you.
I love you the way you are
It’s a star that shines in you forever
When I have a baby boy
that plays with a toy
A butterfly has beautiful wings
is filled with the colours of a rainbow
I love to share with all my friends
that they are in my heart
My love is a light that shines in my heart
and we never be apart
I live my life to be with my wife
An angel has beautiful wings
that flap in the night
I was so touched by this poem. I will always treasure it. It blessed my life. She is a special lady.
Yesterday, I was sailing along at work and then something happened that sent me into full-on stress mode. Although I was admonished to not stress about it by one of the managers, I did. It’s in my nature. What can I say? And then I had a phone call with one of our clients that I need to share with you.
A little bit of background. “Toby” (not his real name) is a new client to our organisation and lives in one of the homes that we run. He is a country boy and was raised on an outback cattle station with the men. He swears like a trooper. When his father died, Toby came into full-time care. Toby and I haven’t had a lot of interaction as he is easily agitated and will often yell when agitated. At these times, conversations are impossible. Yesterday, I needed to call his home looking for one of our managers who was visiting. The conversation went something like this:
T: Hello darling
Me: Is that you T?
T: Yes. Is that you Meghan?
Me: No, it’s Sue from the office. Do you know who I am?
T: I know you darling.
Me: Is xxx there? I need to talk with her.
T: No. She’s gone. Ann is here now.
Me: Can I talk to Ann?
(long pause in which I still hear breathing)
Me: Can I talk to Ann?
Me: Will you put her on the phone?
(another long pause)
Me: Where is Ann?
T: She’s here. xxx has gone.
(Hearing Ann in the background asking who it is, T replies “It’s Sue from the office”)
Me: Okay, T can you tell Ann that it’s okay. I’ll call xxx on her mobile.
(T to Ann “It’s ok Ann. She’ll call xxx)
Me: Well I’d better hang up then
T: Have a good afternoon darling.
Me: You too T.
T: Have a good afternoon darling. Bye.
I should point out that T is a young man more than 20 years younger than me. This is the longest conversation that I have ever had with this young man and I was blessed. My day began getting better from that point on. It may not seem much to you but when I shared with some of my other colleagues the conversation that I had just had, they also saw the blessing in it.
The point of this post is to show you that blessings are all around us. It is also to show those of my readers who don’t have much interaction with people with disabilities that these people are just like you and me. They just express themselves in different way. And they are as much of a blessing in life as any other person.
Have a blessed day.