Do What You Can

We Do What We Can

A good friend of mine who lives too far away from where I’m writing, sent me an email, that was typical of Karyn, overflowing with her understated courage and insight. Without going into unnecessary details, she’s had more than her share of difficult times, setbacks, and what’s euphemistically labeled “challenges.” She continues to amaze me as being a generous, caring, loving person. Is that in spite of the circumstances, or, perhaps, have the circumstances given her an edge?

I know many people who have “had it easy” who are bitter, selfish and morally bankrupt. I also know some who have “had it easy” who are abundantly grateful for their blessings too. Through my work I’ve met many blind people, some of whom are mired in self-pity and invest the life in limiting opportunities to make a difference and blind people who are dynamic, happy, productive and unstoppable. It seems that circumstances certainly have an impact, and can change outcomes, but will, drive, personal responsibility for your own life and resilience direct what you make of your circumstance.

Resilience is making the most of what you have and the least of what you don’t. Do what you can. Being a musician would be so much easier if we could just sit down, put a paper in front of us and read music, but we can’t: do what you can. Memorize, use Braille, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse until you get it. It’ll take longer but you’ll be doing what you can.

Be mobile, learn how to navigate, use a cane, a guide dog (I highly recommend that), learn your immediate environment, think before you cross, close doors so you don’t whack into a half opened door and if you do, brush it off – you hit it because you’re blind, not stupid. Do what you can.

Do what you can. People will judge you, usually not with anger but with overbearing pity. Out of kindness wanting to do everything for you so you don’t have to do it yourself. One day, while waiting for a ride a helpful man jumped out into a busy street to stop traffic so I could cross safely and then told me it’s OK, I can go. I told him “Thanks but I’m not crossing the street.” I can’t change other’s mindsets, but I can handle it calmly and not surrender my independence or judgment. Do what you can.

You’re blind and it’s your job and my job to be helpful, carry our load, lift our share of the weight, contribute to good communication and relationships. There’s nothing that should prevent a blind person from being generous, passionately speaking up for a cause or having a joyous home filled with music. Do what you can, and don’t stop doing what you can. Good advice Karyn. Thanks for another gem that you probably thought was no big deal. I’ve come to expect that from you.

What’s your opinion? I’d like to hear from  you. Please leave a post on this blog or write to me at dave@openmindedmic.com – Thanks, Prof. Dave

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