Life comes from life.
It comes from life in every shape, size, and background. Complex lives. Messy lives. Struggling lives. Determined lives. Funny lives. Mysterious lives. Sensual lives. Beautiful lives. Sacred lives.
It doesn’t come from machines, technology, techniques, and touchups.
Nor from artificial intelligence and artificial limbs. Nor from quick fixes and miracle cures. Nor from positive mind-sets and exceptional heroes. These can be useful, but not as much as we have been seduced to believe. And certainly not in isolation.
A thriving life is accompanied by a nurturing environment that includes family and friends who care about you and a society that cares about you too—cares enough to allocate resources, provide opportunities, and expand justice so that you can live life to the fullest.
There is no such thing as “their” world and the “rest of us” world. And we can’t afford for there to be one. There is only one world. If we are going to preserve it, we have to make it a place where people are enlarged, not threatened, by difference. Where as many people as possible are moving in the same direction. Where we transcend our partisan and ideological beliefs and recognize, indeed rely on, what we have in common: our dependence on each other.
Of all the conditions that bind us together, the experience of vulnerability is the most universal and therefore the most unifying. It’s not just the fact that it touches everyone on the planet. It’s that it offers us an alternative to the lone-actor, epic-hero story that abounds.
It gives us a story that celebrates our deep connections to each other and to the earth—a story that reminds us that none of us get where we are going on our own and that success doesn’t come from rising above but by rising with.
We are not separate. Although we are different, we don’t have to be alone. We all breathe life, live life, love life, give life, leave life. And we inhabit this fragile, beautiful, and living planet together.
The power of vulnerability is the power of that life.
– excerpted from The Power of Disability with thanks to the “Socrates of Quebec” Jacques Dufresne.
One more thing. And I hate that I have to do this.
The poverty experienced by disabled people during this pandemic has expanded and deepened. That includes Madeline (not her real name) one of the most talented and vivacious people I’ve met this year. You can read more about her in this news article. On a good day Madeline’s pain is never less than eight out of ten. A bunch of us are working to convince government to cover the full cost of her treatment. The gap is $50,000 a year.
In the meantime we have set up a Go Fund Me campaign. Up until now Madeline has been afraid and embarrassed to ask for help. But she has used up all her savings and maxed out on debt. She has applied for Medical Aid in Dying. Not because she wants to die. But because she can’t afford to keep herself alive on her own. That’s where we come in.