Mrs. Spencer

I remember sitting in history class taught by a very unappealingly dry Mrs. Spencer.

She was a woman in need of, shall we say, some FUN?

That class was torture for me.

I did not know it back then but my learning style needs to have LIFE of some sort attached.

If you give me just numbers and dates and a test, you will be sorely disappointed.

Last night, I finished watching the JOHN ADAMS HBO series.

The subject of hidden disabilities interests me.

As a short segue, I recently completed a public speaking course.

At the close of it, a man approached me who many considered the heckler of the group.

His displays of inappropriate commenting were tiresome at best.

What he said to me was this:

“You have a very visible disability. I have diabetes which is not apparent to others.

There is a good chance I will need my leg amputated.

I am no longer afraid since I met you and heard you speak.”

Now, this floored me…

First, because I had my opinions about him and they were pretty well set.

Second, my heart cracked open at the covert vulnerability this man gifted me with which was all covered up with bravado.

Our John Adams was an unspectacular specimen to look at.

He lacked grace in dealing with the French hotties at their fancy displays of pomp and sensual forays into pleasure-seeking frivolity.

He was scorned by his compatriots for a relentless and void-of-humor mission to corral feisty egos into a manageable and purposeful government.

He abandoned his children for the cause and asked his magnificent wife, Abigail, to test her patience beyond any human capacity for most.

And yet..

We are here, now..

Here, within the flawed but radiantly inclusive and foundationally inspired bedrock of the United States of America.

Mrs. Spencer’s disability was her inability to translate life to us, her students.

Likely, because she hadn’t touched it yet..

My disability is MS in it’s very visible ransacking of a vital and graceful physical self.

John Adams’ disability was his lack of the ‘cool factor.’

He HAD to be coarse and insistent and relentless to be heard through the din of the common denominators which ruled the day.

He tried the patience of many.

I see that my disability allows a very different kind of ‘listening’ from people I am in contact with.

I take this very seriously.

I could easily give you whining and complaint.

The religion of the wounded.

A sense of belonging, yes, but communion.. no.

This very disability has ushered me into a life so full and rich that it would make Mrs. Spencer’s toes curl from the intimacy and humility of it all.

LIFE! Raw and trying and rugged and always the new thing asking for it’s place in the car.

How much can we bear?

How much can we lose?

How do we know what is there, behind the things we lose?

Until we lose them?

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