Ye_Olde_Knight_and_Dragon_by_JoJo83Not long ago at a seminar I attended, I did an exercise that asked everyone to draw what they wanted to be as a child. We shared our drawings with the group I was in. Some drew cowboys, others superheroes, and I drew a knight slaying a dragon. At first I wondered the relevance of my thought, but I quickly realized how accurate it was. I fight for the just causes, even when they may be against great odds. This is what nurtures me. I have trained to be an advocate for disabilities, how to meet with Senators and Representatives and tell my stories in a persuasive manor, and how to bring a community together to spotlight social injustice. This is what nurtures my soul. Unfortunately, this is not what brings in a paycheck.

I would go broke fighting against social injustice. Oh wait, I already have! I’d fight against discrimination even if it cost me grades in college. It did. I would fight for fair treatment of others even if it caused lost friendship. Were they really worth my friendship if they didn’t have an open mind of acceptance? I don’t believe so.

When I was in the Navy, there was a guy named Hill. He was from Tennessee. Before joining the Navy I drove through Tennessee and a cashier had difficulty making change when I bought gas, so in my mind, Tennessee was not a state of great minds. I met Hill in Boot Camp and as a Company (unit), we had to carry him through. He could barley get himself dressed at times. (Honest to goodness, dress inspection day, he had his t-shirt on backwards).  Mind-bogglingly we were both entering the nuclear program. In A-school we all took a math test and somehow Hill scored a 4.0 (he passed) on day one. I forced myself to sit down with Hill and have a conversation with him.  He had a slow drawl and pronounced nuclear as well as former president G. W. Bush, and it was painful to have a conversation with him, but soon I realized how brilliant he really was. It was my prejudice that had kept me from seeing such a great mind.

Since that time in the military 25 years ago, I’ve met some other brilliant people who are trapped inside disabled bodies, and still discriminated against. I’ve met students who are thought to be stupid because they have a learning disability, but are also gifted. I know people who are believed by some to have less value because they have any number of disabilities. I will fight for them until my last breath. Some of it maybe for them, but really, this is what nurtures my soul, so I really fight for them because I want to be that knight, even when the societal dragon breathes fire and leaves me banged up pretty bad at times. That’s how I nurture my soul.

I realize I took the topic to a personal level rather than with the broad “gifted” class in mind, but I feel each of us has an internal rhythm that pulses in a magical way when we find ourselves moving closer toward our entelechy, and THAT is what nurtures our soul.

And just to let you know, the image at the top was NOT the one I drew.  My drawing ability pretty much peaks about where stick-figures begin.


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