by Jocelyn Tichenor
Job 19:21-27a Psalms 27, 88, 95 Hebrews 4:1-16 Romans 8:1-11
It all started September 27, 1979, the day I was born. I was born to two loving parents. They knew there would be challenges for the three of us to go through, but nothing could prepare them for the shock we all were about to receive.
Mom took me to the doctors for a check-up at eighteen months. At that point, I was not walking. The doctor evaluated the way I grasped objects, how my eyes followed them and my coordination. My parents were pleased at how well I had completed the tasks set before me. The doctor told my parents that I had cerebral palsy.
This was quite a time of sadness for my parents, and they did not know what to expect in terms of my development. To assist me in making up for lost time, I went to physical, occupational and speech therapies at various times.
At therapy I was requested to complete difficult tasks, such as buttoning a shirt, walking on a balance beam and trying to speak so that people could understand me. I really struggled in the early days to have people understand me and even today some people think I originate from a European Country!
Cerebral palsy, like all difficulties, has its good as well as its undesirable aspects. On the good side, I have met people that I might not have otherwise met and learned self-motivation and perseverance. Accomplishments, though they may be small, are always appreciated a lot more because of the tremendous amounts of energy necessary to complete a task.
On the other side, because of my slow rate of speech, people often commented that I was mentally impaired. That was a major blow to me because I had really struggled to speak well and articulately. And when activities looked easy to complete, they always found a sneaky way of turning in to being almost impossible, such as cutting a juicy piece of steak.
As we prepare for this special season, I am reminded of the suffering that Jesus went through when he was crucified on the cross. Gloriously three days later, he was resurrected. My life story and yours can be likened to that of Jesus. Each one of us has a Good Friday in our life, a day we discovered something was not the way we wanted it to be. For me it was finding out that I had cerebral palsy. Yes, there was a time of mourning and asking the all too popular question, “Why me?” but there was the promised resurrection which is the Easter for all of us. For me, it was discovering the things I excelled at, such as working with people and speaking publicly. We try to mimic the way Jesus led His life, the successes and failures He went through to make Him a stronger person. Discovering our resurrection means going through the ups and downs as Jesus did when He was here on earth.
by Jocelyn Tichenor