He exemplifies us all…

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Today, the world lost a great person, who fought against Apartheid, and racism in South Africa. He sought to educate the world, not just his country men. Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has passed away.

During his long life, Mandela spoke against racism,and Apartheid. Despite his incarceration, he emerged strong in spirit, and continued his fight. Throughout his life he never let anything stand in the way of what he believed, not even his imprisonment for 27 years.

Here are a few of his famous quotes that personify his spirit, his strength, his beliefs, and provided inspiration to many. While these were spoken largely in his speeches against Apartheid, they can be applied to our lives as well. The few I selected seem apropos to my life, and for those like me who struggle with hearing loss and deafness, and the impact these struggles and challenges have on our lives. They also support what I was taught, and what I have believed in all my life, that one must work to overcome life’s challenges, and persevere, and hold fast to their beliefs and strengths, no matter what people say or do.

“Difficulties break some men but make others. No axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end.”

Try, try, try again is a common motto one hears. This however, I feel is befitting my life now, particularly as I work on my AVT and in seeking new employment.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

My being successfully mainstreamed in school, and completing several programs of post secondary education is proof positive, that nothing is impossible until you do it.

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success if they are dedicated to and passionate about what they do.”

This one applies to the way I have lived my life since I was a child, and more specifically as a teen and adult. I had worked to achieve my goal of becoming a teacher, and succeeded. Through many years of speech therapy, I perfected my speech. With hard work, I achieved the ability to understand others, to capably use the phone, and live my life as fully in the hearing world as I wanted to be, that my parents had hoped I would be able to do.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”

It is my hope that this blog not only educates, and inspires people to think about things in a different way when it comes to the deaf community, their loved ones, and the world around them in general. For if we do not share our experiences, our knowledge, we will not gain the understanding we need from our loved ones, friends and community at large. Nor can hearing parents develop an understanding if what it means to raise a happy, well adjusted, successful deaf or hard of hearing child.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

I wish I had read this before my surgery, but this really does apply to my decision to get the cochlear implant, and the courage and strength I had to step through the door to prepare for the operation. Becoming fully deaf in my right ear was a consequence of that decision, and it took much courage to overcome it.

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”

This one personifies my life, and I cannot stress this enough :I fell many times before I succeeded. I faltered and lost my way, and pulled myself back up. Just a year ago I miss-stepped, and fell a long way into a pit of despair. It was the toughest year of my life, and I am still working my way back up.

I have heard so many comments in my life, past and present, that focused on my successes. My speech. Graduating from university. The ability to blend in with the hearing community almost seamlessly. My recent successes in the AVT. My jobs teaching, and in the retail industry. My skill in Scrabble. The list goes on, big and small; but to get those successes, those compliments, and those comments, I struggled first. I worked at those things, and while I did, I cried, I raged, I grew despondent, and then shook myself off, and carried on, determined to succeed. I teach my children this. I tell them, I fell many times first in everything I did, even as I learned to be a mother to my children.

So as I reflect on Mandela’s life, I hope I have honoured him in the way I have lived my life, and continue to extol his beliefs as I fight through anything that comes my way now. He was an inspiration to many, and will continue to inspire, even in his death.

God Bless, and May the Angels welcome you with open arms, and please watch over us, as we continue to work through our struggles, and fight our battles around the world. Rest in peace, Mandiba.

Quotes were found on: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2013/12/05/nelson-mandela-quotes/3775255/


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