Chapter 8: Helping Someone to Overcome

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A couple of years ago, I came across something called “Beatitudes for Friends of People with Disabilities.” It is loosely based on the Beatitudes found in the Bible. You can find it in chapter 5 of Matthew. The word “beatitude” simply means “a supreme blessing”. It is used to describe a set of blessings spoken by Jesus. Outside the Bible, I have never run into this word.

When I came across the “Beatitudes for Friends of People with Disabilities”, it caught my attention. After reading these blessings, I can agree that there is a special blessing attached to each item.

A person with disabilities has many of the same struggles as anyone else. However, there is one caveat. A person’s disability can sometimes exacerbate a problem. Here is a recent example.

The other day I sat down to watch a young man do his show live on YouTube. It’s called a livestream. If you are watching such an event, then you would have an opportunity to chat with the host or other viewers. Sounds good? What is the problem?

Have you ever watched a stream of test go racing by? If there is a small amount of people, it may not be so bad. You would have a chance of following the conversation in a chat stream. If the size of the audience grows, then it becomes a different story. The speed of the chat stream will greatly increase and it will become more difficult to track anything. If you are nearsighted, then you are going to have a more difficult time than other people.

My goal is not to focus totally on disability as the following “Beatitudes” could be applied to others. Please remember that they are directed at the friends seeking to be of help. I will give the original then I’ll give my thoughts. I trust that you’ll find it of help.

Blessed are you who take the time to listen to difficult speech, for you have helped me to know that if I persevere I can be understood.

Did you ever run into someone struggling to share something? For me, I have been on both sides of the equation. I have had difficulty in communicating something and it was a struggle. By the way, my speech is clear when I speak slowly. I for one, appreciated when friends or family encouraged me to slow down and take my time.

Do you recall my earlier two chapters? In college, I met friends that really helped by listening to my emotional pains. God used this gift to help me in forgiving those who hurt me. As a friend once pointed out, it does help to talk. He’s right.

It can be very difficult to know the right thing to say. Sometimes the best response is a willing ear and silence. I have been there and it can be quite challenging. For this reason I’d encourage a listening ear and quiet prayer for healing. I suspect that someone did just that.

Blessed are you who never bid me to “hurry up” and take my tasks from me and do them for me, for I often need time rather than help.

How would you like to help someone build confidence in a task? You can start by being patient. For me, reading out loud can be challenging especially in a classroom situation. It was a struggle to keep up with the other students.

Nevertheless, I appreciated the teachers giving me an opportunity to participate. Yes this happened in a public school. Though I could read out loud, I had a slower reading speed and I found it challenging to keep up. My English teacher’s patience helped to encourage my joy of reading and trying other forms of literature. 

Blessed are you who stand beside me as I enter new and untried ventures, for my failures will be outweighed by the times I surprise myself and you.

Do you know anyone that succeeded on the first try? How about someone who never made a mistake? Every human being has attempted something and failed at it. For some people, the fear of failure can be a very scary thought.

If you visit my blog site, then you may think that Inspiration Point was my first attempt at a web site. That is far from the truth. I had made quite a few attempts that did not pan out. Nevertheless, I had some friends who encouraged me to keep trying.

Yet each failure led to improvements in my writing skills and other things. For this reason, it helps to have a friend who will speak the truth and help you to see the hidden gold. Why do you suppose the recovery community has a fondness for meetings?

Addiction is not an easy challenge and my friends in my church’s recovery group have a very supportive environment. Though I’m not involved with it, I do know that they are some of the most supportive bunch around. People do stumble and they know it. It’s why I like recommending the recovery group at Shore Vineyard.

Blessed are you who asked for my help, for my greatest need is to be needed.

Some years ago someone asked, “Barry. What is your need?” I answered simply that my need is to be needed. It is true that everyone desires to be needed at some level. However, this need is especially acute for people with disabilities. Would you ask a totally blind person for help with a computer?

I did this very thing and it was personally challenging. For the record, the blind computer teacher was helpful. He asked a series of questions and helped to find a solution.  How about a blind carpenter? I have met a couple of these people and they appear quite capable. How about asking a nearsighted man to help rake a yard full of autumn leaves?

Years ago, a friend did just that and it was a little challenging for him. I had to point out that I can see the leaves on the ground. It’s rather hard to miss red and gold leaves on a green lawn, wouldn’t you say? I am still glad to call Rick a friend. Obviously I was the guy being asked and I did help. As the “Beatitude” says, my greatest need was to be asked for help, as my greatest need is to be needed.

Do you know someone that simply wants to be needed? Did you know that you can really help them by asking for help?  Here is a friendly tip. Don’t worry about what you think they can’t do. Focus on what they can do.  Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t have a clue.

If you ever read the original “Beatitudes for Friends of People with Disabilities”, then you’d know there are a couple more. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to add to it.  For one thing, it is a little beyond the scope of this book. Plus, I suspect the original person meant for you to derive your own insights.

As I found my copy on the Joni & Friends’ website, I am certain that they have materials on helping people with disabilities. Even if you’re not struggling with physical disabilities, you may find Joni Eareckson Tada’s book to be of great help.


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