I will Not use my disability as a crutch! I will however, use

it to gain more of what the abundant universe has to offer

me. Like a heavy noose around my neck, I could let it label

me. Weak, incompetent, unable. Instead, I will take that

piece of heavy, twisted rope that threatens to define me

as something I am not, and securely attach it to something

greater, bigger, stronger.

Six months ago my doctor told me the reason the left side

of my body goes numb, and some days I can’t walk or sit

and am in constant pain, is due to Sciatica. Sciatica is

simply the symptom of the lack of tissue in the lower two

discs in my back, so they are pinching the Sciatic nerve,

also causing Arthritis.

I am only 37 years old.

I am usually a very active mother of 3 children so when I

heard this diagnosis, my world was turned upside down. It

is not something that goes away or gets better; it is

something I have to live with for the rest of what I hope is

a very long, healthy, satisfying life.

Every day is a struggle to get out of bed, play with my

children, work, and do household chores. Some days are

better than others. Instead of letting this noose weigh me

down though, it has eventually, 6 months later, lifted me


As I visited the Santa Barbara, California area recently on

a family vacation, one of the highlights on a guided trolley

tour was an Australian Moreton Bay fig tree that had been

planted by a young girl almost 140 years ago.

As the captivating young trolley guide came to a stop, so

that we could marvel in its grandeur and stateliness, I was

in awe of its massive buttress roots standing several feet

out of the ground and reaching hundreds of fet in all

directions. Despite the nutrient-poor soil, those roots have

allowed the fig tree to grow eighty feet tall, the branches

to reach out almost two hundred feet, and it still produces

succulent fruit for locals and visitors to enjoy.

As I sat there quietly, I realized that I want my life to be

a testimony in the same way. Like the fig tree’s escaping,

winding and supportive roots, I also may be tied to

something that holds me down. And like the fig tree, I also

want to be constantly growing, reaching beyond the

captive boundaries of a diagnosis to offer the fruit of

wisdom, guidance, strength, and peace that so many need.

There is no rope, no diagnosis, nor nutrient-lacking soil in

my life that will now prevent me from striving to be a

better person, thriving in spite of a weakness, with the

willingness to help others so that they don’t have to use

their disability as a crutch either.

— Copyright © 2013 Stephanie Whitfield

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