I can’t DO anything!

Sandra Hartlieb

I am worthy not for what I DO but for WHO I AM – or rather “WHOSE I am.”

I had an amazing job! I worked for over 10 years for the Archdiocese in  Indiana. I was an advocate for persons with disabilities, and I taught them how to be advocates for themselves. I did this primarily through story and drama. Each year I wrote a full-length play based on their stories. Stories of abandonment, pain, feeling useless, — stories of triumph, joy, community. We would have more than 70 people of all abilities on stage giving it their all and basking in the applause from a stunned audience. A man in a 400lb electric wheelchair dancing a pas te deux with a standing dancer. A woman who was blind telling me that her “character” was not blind, so I would have to find a way for her to make her entrance. A man with cerebral palsy who fulfilled his life-long dream to be a preacher.

AND it all came crashing down.

You see, I have a disability myself. I have low vision. But, I was getting by. Then, I had to surrender my driver’s license. The job was not on any public transportation line. My husband was working. I had no driver — I had to leave that incredible job.

I was a mess – physically and emotionally. Finally I went to a counselor. Crying my eyes out, I said, “I can’t DO anything!” She switched gears and asked if I had grandchildren. ‘Yes.”
“Don’t you just love them?”
“Of course! They are amazing!”
“Didn’t you love them from the moment they were born?”
“Of course!”
(pause)
“Well I don’t know why — they hadn’t DONE anything!”

My lesson – I am worthy not for what I DO but for WHO I AM – or rather “WHOSE I am.”

Long story, short, suddenly there was an opening for a catechist at my church – 5 minutes from my house – plenty of church friends to get me to and from! I NEVER would have moved into this ministry if I had not lost my former job. God had a mission for me – it just was different than the one I expected!