Earlier this year, I wrote about a much-loved mentor and friend of mine — and of countless others who have been ‘touched’ by her in her long, productive life — who experienced a life-changing traumatic health event.
What my friend demonstrates to me, epitomised in the title, Indomitable Spirit, is her capacity to rise and meet the seemingly random challenges that life presents, in varying degrees, to all of us. No doubt she would tell me too, that she had her dark moments following her shocking trauma; she has reminded me on more than one occasion, that she is human too. But like the life buoy bobbing on top of the ocean, she didn’t stay down for long. Indeed, like the life buoy which marks the shipping channels to ensure ships’ safe passage, once again she shows me the way, and with her dignity fully on display.
She has a goal to reach: her next birthday, a major milestone. She wants to have a big party AND she wants to be standing. With this goal in mind, she has been receiving physiotherapy treatment and everyday practising her rehabilitation exercises. She has progressed and is able to look back to when she lay in her bed with no movement in her lower body, to now where she is seated in a wheelchair and raising each leg in turn and standing with support. After each treatment, which she approaches like an Olympian in training, she needs to rest, to regain her strength, ready for the next day’s workout.
However, she is not only working on her physical body. She noticed that the daily non-medical staff of her residential care facility came mainly from countries who spoke language other than English. In their interactions with her, their limited English made it hard for them to be understood and to communicate with her and others in their care. It just so happens that she is a career Secondary English teacher who has led her subject faculty over many years. She is experienced in all aspects of her subject, including teaching English as a Second Language.
What is her solution? You guessed it. She offers teaching/tutoring English support pro bono to her carers. A win/win situation. She regains purpose and meaning within the context of her professional calling. They gain an exceptional teacher, generously assisting them to learn to communicate more effectively and to enhance their personal growth. We all know that more effective communication is the key to greater personal and professional fulfillment. And at a deeper level, we know she is also honouring their personal dignity.
My friend is quietly and significantly contributing to our Australian society at large.
Indomitable? Hell, yeah.