Most of you know the story by now....I was hit by a careless driver in November 2007. My life was drastically changed by an acquired brain injury, which includes chronic migraines and chronological disorientation. I was robbed of a lot of great things I enjoyed in life. I have had to rebuild, including re-training in a new career and trying to regain independence in life and travel. There were no guarantees but I made a promise that I would use any skills I acquired to give back.
I was blessed to be able to become a Licensed Optician. In 2012, I started to travel on my own again. In 2014, I was invited to go with a team to the Dominican Republic and I did my first eye care outreach. That year, I was named Optician of the Year by the Ontario Optician's Association and given this directive by the Executive Director, Lorne Kashin
"When people look up what an optician is, I want them to see your face and read about what you are doing and say "That's what a Licensed Optician is."
I've taken that commission seriously.
So last year, I was attending New St James Presbyterian church and they were planning a trip to follow up with a children's center that they had built in Blantyre, Malawi. Would I like to be a part of that? Could I do some eye care? It would be a big project and little did I know some of the obstacles and challenges that would arise but I said yes.
And so the project has been over a year in the works. I have been absolutely grateful for all the encouragement and support that has once again come my way.
People always say that I have earned this. That I worked hard and these are the rewards. That so much was taken from me that this is God blessing me and giving me back some great things because of what was taken from me.
But if there is one thing that I have learned travelling and working in developing countries is this:
Hard work, God's blessings and doing the right things don't always guarantee that life is going to turn out well. I've seen people working just as hard as me, sometimes even harder, and they will never have the opportunity to have the good life that I do. It doesn't mean that God doesn't care or bless them. It doesn't mean that they aren't good people. It means we live in a world where justice doesn't always reign. That isn't always fair. That results don't equal the effort.
So there is a responsibility to those of us that it does work out for, to those of us who do have some rewards, some results, some justice to spread the circle of blessings to anyone we can. Because my promise shouldn't just be a one time thing. It needs to be a life long commitment.