Back when I was in high school (more years ago than I can even believe!), I met a young woman just a few years older than I am. We met through mutual friends in Young Life – a nondenominational Christian group for high schoolers. Her name was Joni Eareckson. By the time I met Joni she was no longer the athletic teen she had been not long before. She had had a diving accident that left her a quadriplegic. Joni always had the best smile and an encouraging word for us. We would go to the ranch in Eldersburg, Md where Joni lived and have such a wonderful time just talking and laughing. And singing. Joni loves music and has a wonderful voice. When we went there, it was the one time my parents could count on me missing curfew. Shortly before I was supposed to be home, I’d call and beg for more time. We never wanted to leave.
Over the years we lost contact but I have followed her life. She wrote an autobiography detailing her accident and the rehab period following it. (Joni: An Unforgettable Story) She created beautiful drawings holding the pencil in her mouth. One of her drawings has been in my home forever. She traveled with Billy Graham. She married Ken Tada. She founded Joni and Friends ministry to people with disabilities. She continues to write, publish, and sing. She has a radio program and a blog.
One of the things that often brought me up short back when I was in high school was her joy, gratitude, and kindness. About the time that I was wallowing around in self-pity and bemoaning how bad my life was (you know the kind of things that are devastating to teens like no date for Saturday night, pimples, or whatever), I’d spend some time with Joni. By just being Joni, she would remind me that: (A) I needed to quit whining because my problems weren’t real and (B) It was time to refocus. She was my original counselor without even knowing it. She always seemed to have the right word at the right time.
Fast forward all these years to this week. Some of you read my last post and know how I can be when I hit rock bottom. Today, I read Joni’s blog. And there she was with some good words just when I needed them. I was not whining about any circumstances but rather discussing the effect clinical depression has had on my life. There was no immediate little gripe that I needed to shut up about. I didn’t really need reminder A above. However, reminding me again to refocus and seek help. Yeah, someone’s talking to me.
Read the blog entry at: http://www.joniandfriends.org/blog/my-prince-charming/