Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 1, 2000

Harold Keller / L’Observateur / April 1, 2000

I had the privilege of speaking at the East Thibodaux Junior High School this week. In the first session, which included all ninth graders, there wasa young girl in a wheelchair. She had a pleasant smile, listened intentlyand enjoyed the session.

As I was ending the presentation, I asked her how long she had been confined to a wheelchair. “All my life,” she answered. Somehow, I couldn’tfeel sorry for her, because she seemed happier and more content than the majority of the other students. In spite of her handicap, she had a zest forlife. I told her that meeting her was a blessing and that God was going touse her in a special way.

Upon leaving the school, Ms. Renee Clement, a teacher, handed me a poemwritten by the young girl in the wheelchair. Hope it will touch you as itdid me.

More the Same than Different by Ashley Marie Borne

“Your daughter has Spina Bifida!” the doctor said.

Waves of shock penetrated the parents’ bodies, And tears welled in their eyes.

“Why? How?” Unanswered questions, Wheelchairs, crutches, braces, Cold, hard steel.

Operations, catheters, muscle spasms, Unable to run, walk, play ball, dance and swim.

So many adventures will never be enjoyed.

Children watch as she swings into school on crutches.

Stares, whispers, accompany her every staggered move.

Her beautiful, dark brown hair and gorgeous eyes Are barely noticed.

Lonely days go by, Her vivacious laugh and winning smile bring joy at last.

Her first “friend”! True and blue! Her legs can’t leap, But her heart does! Years go by, Her fears more intense.

Time for the prom.

She is asked! Her legs can’t dance, But her heart does.

College, med school, Summa Cum Laude! Her legs can’t jump for joy, But her heart does.

She prays, “Oh, God, I can’t walk, but I can hear Your voice.

I can’t run, but I can see Your beauty.

I can’t swim, but I can feel Your love.

Allow me to help those who can walk, but can’t hear Your voice, Who can run, but can’t see Your beauty, And who can swim, but are drowning without Your love, For they are more handicapped than I.”

Harold Keller writes this column as a part of his affiliation with the Get High on Life religious motivational group.

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