Monday, August 6, 2012

Mission Possible: Impossible is Nothing

Mission Possible: “Impossible is Nothing”

This week’s inspiration came to me from the nicest article anyone has ever written about me. My son wrote an article for his high school newspaper years ago that was also published in the National Edition of High School Journals. The article was entitled, “Mission Possible: Student taught lasting lessons by mother’s fortitude.”

Sometimes I forget where I’ve been to get to where I am now. A friend recently told me that her father once told her that if she didn’t sing her own praises, that nobody else would. The one lesson that I have learned as of late, is that there is a lot of truth to that statement. Fortunately, those who know me or still remember my past efforts know my fortitude. Can’t was never a part of my vocabulary, and neither was the word I.

Having led an effort that was once considered the leading effort in the state and recognized nationally by the President’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities which is now no longer in existence, I take a lot of pride in what I had accomplished with the help of a lot of great people. My leadership was also once recognized with numerous awards and letters of recommendation from various mayors, institutions and other community leaders. I even introduced others from around the state to the concept of an active Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities. I still take a lot of pride in that too.

When others make great strides towards better access, I acknowledge their outstanding accomplishments too. It requires a community effort for success, composed of dedicated individuals with the right kind of attitudes. It also requires a commitment to maintain what is accomplished and an administration with the dedication to keep the move going, from one administration to the next. Yet, another lesson learned as I have pursued other interests.

You can only hope that the next person in charge will be as committed as you were to keeping the movement moving forward towards greater access. Sometimes it doesn’t seem to work out that way, and you realize progress has either halted or become worse. Once this realization hits you, you have to decide how much more is within you to keep things moving forward. No one wants to quit, yet no one wants that kind of responsibility as a volunteer when others are getting paid to do so. Quite frankly, you expect them to do what they are legally required to do and/or paid to do.

Someone recently asked me to write about how I got into gardening. Oddly enough, this is how I got into gardening. I got into gardening more or less as a retreat from the frustration that I was feeling from creating equal access in an area where attitudinal barriers are somewhat more extreme than the physical ones. An area where priorities are often not with creating better access and with administrations that are very quick to blame the past administrators for the lack of compliance. An area too where people with disabilities aren’t working together in a cohesive effort towards improvement. Complacency sometimes seems to be the norm, and most complaints aren’t followed through with the committed action necessary to make a change.

Even the best fighters know when to throw in the towel. “Am I fighting a losing battle?” I’ve asked this question quite often. I hope not. I’m a doer and I like progress, measurable results, etc. I also know when my efforts are wasted. I plug away at this little by little because I know that I will not let it get to me personally and that I will not let it overwhelm me. When I can see things being built the way they are supposed to be, and when I can participate equally, I am happy because I know others will be too. For now I’ll continue to help, but I do someday foresee reaching a threshold.

Sometimes we do feel disappointed about the seemingly lack of progress. It helps to focus on the positive efforts taking place wherever they may be happening, even if they are happening on the other side of the state. I jokingly say I want to move elsewhere sometimes, but I’m not quite ready to pack up and leave. I do see good results around me now too and others interested in learning advocacy. I’m feeling somewhat encouraged once again.

Today I made an open faced tomato sandwich on fresh bread and from my own tomatoes. Even though I had pitiful results from my squash plants, my tomatoes have more than made up for it. My sandwich was delicious, and I am making a huge effort to eat healthier since I began my focus on Access to the Garden. My incredible fortitude, hard headedness and willingness to fight will sure as heck help me in the garden too! “Life is a garden! Can you dig it?” ~ Unknown

Tribal Tribune, Mission Possible: Student Taught lasting lessons by mother's fortitude
Tribal Tribune - Wando High School - Mission possible: Student taught lasting lessons by mother’s fortitude


  1. Brenda, I am so inspired by your story and applaud your efforts to make all areas accessible to everyone. And that open-faced tomato sandwich looks delicious knowing that those tomatoes are fresh from the garden.

    1. Thanks Jane! The sandwich I made was delicious too!

  2. Your efforts are not wasted and, yes, progress does come slow. Better than no progress at all! And just because others 'appear' to always want the spotlight does not mean your hard work goes unnoticed. Better to be in the shadows observing than to be blinded by the limelight!!

    1. Always in the shadows. They help you see things clearly!