Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Light In Her Eyes

This is Sam blogging, again.

Peggy and I recently listened to a TED talk by Simon Sinek, where he explained that the great organizations stand out by their ability to communicate their purpose over their product. The Why versus the What. This talk made me think back upon why Peggy and I started Esra's Trust, and I'd like to share with you a few of my reflections.

Esra's Trust transcends a wheelchair. It transcends even providing for Esra's medical needs. Esra's Trust extends to sharing the light which our daughter transmits to us, and to every other recipient.
As evidence of this transmission of light, I share three principles by which my daughter has helped me to see my life more clearly. First, my daughter's persistence (indeed, her insistence) in what she wants shows her faith. Even right this moment, she is seated next to me in her wheelchair, signing and saying "puter"... she has great faith that I will let her type on the computer! Of course, faith is also demonstrated by aligning our wills... so not always does she get the computer! Still, my prayers have been strengthened to be persistent in the things I know are good...

The next principle that has enlightened my life is that "pure love brings happiness". Esra loves everyone, and shares a pure interest in new acquaintances which quickly wins her friends. As protective parents who are aware of commonly-held social boundaries, we are often made uncomfortable with Esra's request to hug every stranger who she meets. Nevertheless, our happiness is increased because our daughter encourages us to stretch beyond our comfort zones with pure love.

"Priesthood is powerful to heal through faith in the Lord, Jesus Christ." This is the third principle that Esra's life has taught to me. Our daughter has had many surgeries, and healed from every one. Once, while we lived in CT, Esra tumbled down the stairs in her wheeled stander. She fell ten feet vertically onto a concrete floor, and landing inches from the woodstove. Peggy and I were both downstairs (thinking that the door to the stairs was properly secured) when the accident occurred. We heard the thumping as her stander bounced down the stairs wildly, and when we found her, we feared that we would lose her. Peggy called 9-1-1, while I administered to her and gave her a priesthood blessing. Still, I was filled with fear as the paramedics whisked Esra and Peggy to the Emergency Room. We were amazed when all tests (including CAT scan & MRI) revealed that Esra had suffered no injuries more severe than a big bruise on the side of her face which disappeared within a couple of weeks.

Esra's life affirms to us (over and over) that life is sacred and eternal. We believe that the family is ordained of God; that every life has potential to do good, and that every person has an eternal identity and mission. Consistent with these strongly held beliefs, then, we believe that Esra comes into this world with a special mission made possible by her special body. She has been healed many times, but never cured of a condition that allows her to accomplish her life's mission.

Peggy and I are determined to help our children fulfill their missions on earth. We are excited to learn and grow with our children as their individual identities unfold, and eventually as our children begin to realize and achieve their potential. We hope that they will choose the very best that is within them.
My purpose in this project has been to help Esra share her light. She will teach us many things during the course of her life, and we need to learn and grow with her. We think that increasing her independence and enhancing her communication will also accelerate her transmission of light in our world. We invite you to join us in sharing the light that Esra's life brings to us!

Images by Chris Jenkins

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