This past week, Leah and I did a little shopping at Walmart and while I was waiting outside the dressing rooms as Leah changed clothes, the Walmart clerk with just one arm, Diana, spoke to me and asked if I had enjoyed the Balm Immanual Baptist Church ladies’ retreat. She had seen me there and remembered my face.
I told her I did, and it was the first time I’d ever been to it. I asked if she had enjoyed it. She said yes, and told me how the keynote speaker had come during the break to personally talk to her and asked her how she had lost her arm…and wanted details about it. “She’s a writer, so I’ll probably be in one of her next books,” she said. I smiled, because as a writer myself, I know that anything is potential content!
But Diana’s directness about the loss of her arm took me aback since I don’t even know her. Later I found out she had also lost her leg; she’s a double amputee.
When you see someone who has lost a limb or had some other similar tragedy, the natural human response is discomfort. You don’t know what to say. You know it’s rude to stare and maybe even ask questions that might frighten the person from their memories of the trauma, or somehow make him or her uncomfortable. They just want to be treated normally, not like a “freak.” But since Diana brought up the topic, I felt more at ease about asking her questions.
“How did you lose your arm?” I asked. She told me that when she was four years old, she was electrocuted. She doesn’t remember the accident. But Diana said she is thankful for her parents, who had a strong faith in God and wanted her to live as normal of a life as possible. She heard all her life that she had to figure out how to do things.
Her father wanted to be sure that she didn’t have to ever depend on any man. She was taught to dress and take care of herself, write, cook, change a tire, change the car oil, and more. Diana also had a daughter, so she had to learn to be independent.
Diana once asked her parents why God didn’t just take her life in the accident. What was her purpose? Why did He allow this to happen?
She sought the answer to this question all her life, she told me. Since I’m all about prayer, purpose, and passion, I was intrigued by this conversation and waited to hear more about her self-discovery.
“I’m 55 years old,” she said. “And I think I’m just now understanding what I’m supposed to do. I’m a teacher. I am supposed to teach others. I can do everything you can do, and probably better, with just one arm and one hand. I’ve had to learn to do that to survive. Now I want to teach others like me, who have been in accidents – as well as senior citizens with failing health, stroke victims, those with carpal tunnel, war veterans, and others – how to do the things I’ve learned and know how to do.”
She said she’d like to make a little money at this, but it’s not about the money ~ it’s about helping others.
Diana has begun recording videos and uploading them on YouTube, teaching people missing an arm, leg, etc., how to do basic things and to take care of themselves: making a bed, peeling a potato, cleaning. She wants to teach people these skills in their own homes, rather than in a hospital setting.
You can view Diana’s videos by clicking here at YouTube.
Diana has pushed through all obstacles to get where she is today. Now she has this vision in her heart to help others like herself to be overcomers.
After listening to Diana, I think it’s time for all of us to lay aside our excuses of “I can’t” …and just do it.
“I have strength for all things in him that gives me power.” ~ Philippians 4:13, Darby Bible Translation