I was recently emailing back and forth with a new friend and fellow blogger who also happens to have Usher Syndrome. We were swapping stories about life with Usher’s and getting to know each other. While many of our experiences were similar, we were diagnosed at different stages in life; she was an adult and I was thirteen. She asked if finding out at a young age affected my future decisions in regards to participating in activities and “doing” life in general.
No, it certainly did not :).
I did not allow my diagnosis to hold me back from living life, and thankfully, neither did my parents. I enjoyed friends’ parties,
I continued dancing, I ran cross country, I skied down Sugar Mountain in North Carolina, I braved the dark during Six Flags All Night with my youth group, I navigated the darkroom so I could develop film for my photography class, and I got to experience the thrill of driving! I am so grateful that my parents did not discourage me from learning to drive even though we knew I would have to give it up down the road. My parents’ support through my teen and adult years no doubt encouraged me to pursue many opportunities and activities regardless of having Usher Syndrome and I thank God for my parents.
As I reflect on the many opportunities I have been blessed with, I see how God has used my condition for good (Romans 8:28). Without Usher’s, I would not have had the pleasure of learning one of the most beautiful languages, American Sign Language, much less experience the pure joy I get out of teaching it. I would never have gone to Jamaica to help build the second apartment building in the Deaf village.
I would have never been invited to advocate on Capitol Hill for individuals with Deafblindness, much less meet the President of the United States. I would have never gone to Uganda for the World Federation of the Deafblind conference.
All of these experiences, and more, would never have come into fruition if I hadn’t been born with Usher Syndrome. Perhaps I would have had an equally fulfilling life without Usher’s but that’s just it; I have lived and am living a very satisfying life. God has blessed me with so many wonderful opportunities and friends through my condition. Yes, there are days when it’s hard. Incredibly. And there will be time when I momentarily forget God’s many blessings, but at the end of the day I cannot deny that Usher Syndrome is my blessing in disguise.
Are you experiencing a trial or burden? I encourage you to see what kind of blessing God may be giving you through it for “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).