The Fortress of my Humor

Isaiah 33:6 And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the Lord is his treasure.

I would be doing something so very wrong if I didn’t take time to attribute anything you see here to it’s true Author. My belief in Christ is so much deeper than the “thing I do on Sundays.” To be quite honest with you, aside from this site, my disabilities fade into the background. I have however learned that I have these disabilities, and even my humor, only to serve God.

I often times tell people not to pray for healing when they learn my story. (Believe me, that was not the case as a child). I’ve seen God more at work because my body isn’t normal, than I ever could if it was. I often get the giggles as I imagine the conversations God must have as He watches me take my own twist on life while instilling humor to anyone that gets to watch.

Truthfully, the only reason my laughter can be so incredibly genuine when my body decides to do it’s own thing is because the fear of my Lord Jesus Christ is my treasure. He is the only Fortress I trust completely.

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So when the seizures take liberty in my body and I realize I’ve just dug another hole in my hand, I have true peace. I can honestly laugh with my parents as one if them pipes up with, “Were you trying to get to China?” (With that comment, you can see why I never got the gene for geography comprehension).

I giggle at the sideways glances and strive to chuckle at the, “so, um, are you normal?” questions because my eternal wealth is knowing Jesus is my stability. There’s so much you learn -without thousands of dollars in psychology classes- about people when you’re at the end of their blunt observations. Like #1: Most people that are fearful because they’ve never seen Cerebral Palsy or Epilepsy do NOT appreciate it when you stretch your hand out and spookily mutter, “Look! It’s growing!” as you start shaking (on purpose).

#2 lesson about life that you learn is that hurt people, hurt people. And hurt people are incredibly fun to “target” as you make jokes… Because you feel like you’ve just diffused a bomb- not just increased your potential towards being inducted into the hall of fame for Class Clowns.

My life has had incredible ups and downs. Two main disabilities, three brain surgeries, and a pacemaker-like device for my brain were just the small hiccups. The break of my humor was when I deserted God to pursue what I believed He’d “kept from me.” Jesus is the author of humor. You take Him completely out of the equation, and you have sadistic sarcasm that wounds, not heals.

God is my Fortress, and He is my treasure.

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And all of Heaven knows, He’s still working on becoming a filter system (that I use) for my humor. 😉

No, really.. Just let me.

Conflict in the work place isn’t funny. Believe me, I’ve had my share of yelling, name calling, long discussions about why I can’t do something unethical; all of it. I’m not saying I’ve never had a day where I’d like to just hide under the next iceberg rather than try and be the “bigger woman” and force restoration. I have. But I- as anyone with any abnormal limitation- also get the humorous side of conflict.

20130511-155701.jpg Let me be clear, the woman I’m working for now is a Godly, loving woman that I respect to the moon and back. She had no clue what was going on in my sarcastic mind as she weighed the pros and cons of putting me on a project. She also would be ever blessed by the grace of God to know that she’s not dealing with the spit-fire female of three years ago. She handled everything with a grace and mercy that I haven’t seen in an employer in some time.

Putting me in charge of something as menial as putting labels on DVD’s or even folding brochures seems like a very -very – bad idea. To someone that’s used to using two hands, properly putting labels on a DVD with one hand while not sacrificing professionalism seems impossible. It is.. If you don’t know how to enjoy the fact that it takes you twice as long as “the other guy.”

Folding brochures is a bit funnier. You know that phrase, “The dog ate my homework”? Yeah. You don’t have that option in an office. But you don’t need to have a dog.. You just need to give paper to my right hand and *presto!* it looks a bit like a survivor of war. So, when I was asked to fold a stack of new brochures, I did it one handed. I decided the audience these brochures were targeting deserved to be able to read the thing.

My right hand stayed tightly squished between my legs. Occasionally, it popped itself on the desk like a little 3 year old observing something they were told they could “watch but not touch.” It got to “help” once in a while by being a very expensive undercover paper weight. All the while trying to imitate what my left hand was doing. If my right hand got diagnosed with a personality disorder, it’d probably be somethin’ like arthritic ADHD. (I’m not a doctor.. Can you tell?)

My hand is not the greatest paperweight in the world. Anyone that still uses those things, be thankful you didn’t spend your money on this cute li’l hand. It bounced so much, I refolded almost every brochure twice. Straight lines are boring when you have cerebral palsy. Technically that’s because, well, you’re never capable of keeping an object still long enough to see a straight line. Let alone any line at all. But the things got folded. Hallelujah.

Being in the workforce is a challenge for anyone. But when you’re faced with, “can you?” in areas normal people mastered in preschool, you learn to laugh.. Or not survive at all. I giggled every time I had to refold a brochure because my li’l paperweight decided to come to life. I groaned in frustration when the DVD stickers didnt “de-stickify” just because it met a part of my body; not one of the disks.

But then I just laughed anyway because truly… What did I expect? My stubbornness got me trusted with something that could’ve easily been passed on to someone else. Now, my stubbornness better get me through it to no cost for the Company. I chuckled at my tight muscles and quaking leg on the way home.

Really, I can do it. Just mix 1 part stubborn with 3 parts laughter and life goes on.

In a World of Normalcy

I’ve had cerebral palsy since birth. Epilepsy came along like a sweet li’l Christmas package quite early in my childhood.I’m incredibly used to the awkwardly imposed questions, the adorable stares from curious children; all of it. My life is an open book because -let’s face it, shall we – you cannot have disabilities such as cerebral palsy or epilepsy and not learn that you either answer the questions or live without transparent interaction with other humans. If you choose privacy, all of your friends constantly have that annoying question, “what happens when…?” every day of every year. These questions make sense when they’re something like, “What happens when you burn yourself and don’t feel it?” That makes sense. But when the question is, “What happens when I touch your right hand? Is your, um, disease(??) contagious.” (To which, if you’re anything like me, you bite down hard on your tongue and pray even harder that your frustration doesn’t scare the people away.) You learn to get all the curiosity out of the way as quickly as you can. You have a life to live. You need to live it in peace. You won’t have much peace when every conversation is started with a question about your body… Especially females. Females get very, very testy when all you do is ask them questions about their bodies. This does not change just because something is visibly “special.”

I have learned to make people laugh with all of my “blessings.” When I was given the chance to become a brain surgery patient, I learned to sarcastically call my 12 inch scar the “brain cavern.” When the brain surgeries didnt cure the epilepsy, I was implanted with a pacemaker-like device. Little children were encouraged to believe it was a hollow bone. Depending on the innocence level of the little girls especially, sometimes that didnt go so well. If anyone out there is implanted with a Vegal Nerve Stimulator- please learn from my mistake. Do NOT use the “hollow bone” line during church. The screams don’t bode well with the invitation. I learned that quickly. (I should probably include that I let her flick the pacemaker… And the noise set her off. Bad idea. Really bad idea. That’s a disabled-person no-no.)

In 20-some-odd years, I have learned to make people laugh. I have not, however, mastered the skill of making myself laugh when there is no audience. Today, my mom was the audience, but she misunderstood the situation. Not a big deal, but my sarcasm took over in order to help me figure out how to get past the ordeal. It wasn’t life altering, but it was so blood-boiling annoying that instead of God whispering, “Laugh Darlin’. This doesn’t effect your eternal security. You’re okay. Just laugh.” He had to scream it. Here’s what happened.

I am currently in transition from living alone in Kenai for the past 7 years. I’m headed to Indiana to pursue my career and believed calling as a writer. During that transition period, I’m living with my amazing parents. I love them. They love me. Somedays, they have to make themselves believe it more than others. Today was one of those days. You don’t randomly put 3 adults in one house and expect it to always be smooth sailing.

You wouldn’t think this would be a moment when cerebral palsy reared its adorable little head, but it did. And I was reminded -once again – that when I’m distracted, my li’l split personality otherwise known as Cerebral Palsy, gets to take over. Normal people don’t realize the multitasking people with cerebral palsy have to do. At any moment in time, I can be talking about something very deep with you and constantly mentally giving my right side (effected side) instructions. “Stay still. Don’t move. Loosen up. No, don’t touch that strange woman’s hair. Stay behind my back so the dude doesn’t think you’re being fresh. Just BEHAVE . Standing still is a lot of work.

So, this morning when my mother came down stairs to smooth the waters, she distracted me from giving my right hand “instructions” on how to behave when I was putting on my makeup. When she called my name, my right hand saw its chance. It could take control!!! Yaaaaaay!

Instantly, it broke free of being “at attention” and cleared the vanity of everything in its way. Everything. Mom decided she’d startled me and sweetly apologized. As she apologized my right arm started vibrating. Medically and technically, it’s because the muscles are very tight, so when it exerts itself, it gets tired quickly. My imagination saw its vibration differently. I could just “hear” it saying,

“Look Mama! I’m helping. See! I can move things just like the other arm! Oh! Oh! Oh! Aren’t you proud?!” I compared it to my parents’ li’l Boston Terrier and how her butt vibrates when she thinks she’s being good and cute. Except this wasn’t a dog’s issue. This was an arm’s issue. My arm, to be exact. No, I wasn’t proud of it. No, I wasn’t startled. I was trying to appear like a normal woman. And that was just simply not the case.

Laugh anyway, Darlin’. You weren’t meant to be normal. You were meant to give glory to God. Why, oh why, would you want to gyp yourself of such joy. God smiled broadly this morning as He muttered to Himself, ‘She’s mine… She is so incredibly MINE.” Why would you want to take that away from your Lord?

Laugh. Your arm is a Godsend.