“Undaunted by Disability,” Ensign, Jan. 1997, 70–71
At four years of age I was stricken by a disease for which there was no known cure. After months of struggle, I was not expected to survive. A dear family friend was called in to administer to me and possibly to pray that I be released from life and suffering. Instead, he blessed me that I would live and fill a productive life. After finally surviving the disease, there I was, just a small boy with no hip joint, resulting in one leg being shorter than the other. Walking was painful, and I had an obvious limp.
Over the years I have discovered several principles that have helped me enjoy life in spite of my disability.
Life must go on. Accept things as they are or must be. No amount of self-pity or complaining is going to change anything. Time spent in feeling sorry for yourself accomplishes nothing positive.
Focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have.
Do as much as you can on your own; strive for self-sufficiency. But don’t be afraid to ask for help or accept help when it’s needed. Others may choose to offer their help, but remember that it is not their obligation to do for you what you can reasonably do for yourself.
Do what the Lord asks of you. You become aware of his will for you through scripture reading, praying, listening to the words of Church leaders, and seeking the impressions of the Spirit. There can be great peace of mind in knowing you are doing what the Lord would have you do.
Thank Heavenly Father for what you do have. When I give thanks for my many opportunities, including that of serving a mission both as a youth and with my wife after retirement, marrying in the temple, and having 10 children, I see more clearly the many blessings that outweigh my challenges.
Live life to the fullest. We are here on earth that we might have joy (see 2 Ne. 2:25). Joy can come from righteous living (see Mosiah 4:11–12). My happiest times in life have been those when I was doing the things I needed to do to stay in harmony with gospel principles.
Even though I’ve walked through life in pain with a limp, I am thankful to the Lord for letting me live to enjoy the journey.—Paul M. Smith, Port Angeles, Washington