Handle With Care

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If you’re a faithful reader of the EE blog, or you’ve read “Everyday Inspiration”, you may recall my friend, Leigh Dittman. Leigh is, simply put, a marvel. One of the most intelligent people I know…and she’s 12. She is an avid reader and we have a lot of similar interests in literature. Leigh also holds the distinction as the only person I know who has broken more bones than me.

One other thing you may recall about Leigh is how we met. I’m a Shriner and our sole mission is to support the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. Leigh has been a lifelong patient under the care of Shriner’s Hospital in Tampa, FL. Leigh was born with osteo genetesis imperfect, AKA, brittle bone syndrome. Leigh’s goal in life is to raise a million bucks for the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children. And, since she’s 12 and already halfway there, she’s probably going to have to set another goal. MY goal in life is to be as cool as she is.

Okay, back to the point of this blog…Leigh suggested I read Jodi Picoult’s “Handle With Care”, a novel about a young girl named Willow who also has OI. Willow’s father is a police officer and Jodi Picoult does what she does best in her books, weaves stories within stories. Willow’s father recalls how one of his fellow officers went through a really tough time when his wife had cancer. All the cops on the squad shaved their heads in an act of solidarity while their brother in blue took care of his wife. A week after the wife was declared cancer free, she filed for divorce. Everyone was shocked by this, of course. Yet, ruminating on this story, Willow’s father makes an interesting point: you only know what people choose to show you.

He’s so right. And I have this personal philosophy of, hey, come on in! I’ll show you anything you want to know! See, if you constantly live with secrecy, those secrets fester and grow toxic. And, chances are, your secrets aren’t that special. Like, everyone has areas of their life they don’t want everyone to know about. I think that’s kinda just part of being human. We want to appear perfect…yet, none of us are. So, why do we even try? I believe a great leader once said, “The truth shall set you free.” At least, I think this was a great leader. Right now, I’m too lazy to look it up.

With all the life changes I had to endure at an early age, I had lots of secrets. Actually, a chip on the shoulder would be more accurate. I tried so, so hard to make blindness a non issue. And, I still do that, to a certain extent, but when you get down to brass tacks, blindness is probably the most dehabilitating disability there is, with the possible exception of quadriplegia. This being true, why would I spend years and years trying to conceal my blindness? Or acting like I could do everything when, reality is, I do have limitations. But, those limitations don’t have to determine my life. Nor do they have to define me. I guess with age comes wisdom, but now I’m able to acknowledge I have limitations without becoming a victim of my circumstances. It’s one thing that has set me free. I don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to try to be perfect, either.

If you want to know more about Leigh, check out her web site: www.LeighDittman.com
After all, our flaws and humanity are ultimately what tie us together.

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  • Alexis

    Ron posted a link to this post on my facebook wall. I’ve read the book you speak of and have very mixed feelings about the premise behind the story. Suing a doctor because your child has a disability is just wrong IMO. I won’t get started because I could write a very very long rant on the subject.

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