If it's Friday it must be Sacramento. It was an odd morning for me because I was to do two workshops on sexuality and relationships and then do a brand spanking new, never given before keynote address. So while I was presenting on the one I was worried about the other. Not a great state of mind to be in while teaching. Even so, I gave it what I had. The fact that I had an audience that seem to be enjoying the ride made it so much easier.
I spoke about relationships and the need that people with disabilities have of being loved and wanted. Of relationships that were sexual, yeah, but were much more than that. That state of comfortable companionship that is offered in loving relationships needs to be thought about, talked about, taught about. In a world of so many artifical connections, real ones can sometimes be taken for granted.
At the end of the workshop a woman with a disability came up to talk to me. She told me that I did a good job. "I liked what you said about love," she said as she dug through her purse looking for something. Distracted by her search she kept talking about not wanting to be lonely for her whole life. Then she smiled and pulled a nickel out of her purse and handed it to me.
I told her that my lecture was free with admission.
"But you worked hard."
I did work hard, true, so I said, "I'm getting paid for being here.'
She said, firmly, "Well, you are going to get a little more." She put the five cent piece on my desk and walked away smiling.
I have it sitting right here beside my computer.
Someone else paid me for my lecture today but I'll tell you - that 5 cents made it worth the while.
That nickel ought to be framed.
Loved your blog so much I've started one of my own. Thanks for the inspiration.
I so get how much that 5 cent meant! Those are the kudos that count.
This is off-topic, but a friend sent it to me, and I wanted to share it.
I found your keynote presentation to be funny and inspirational. I was especially touched by the poem you had all of us stand up and participate in at the end. What is the name of this poem & where can I find it?
That nickel is priceless!! Isn't it amazing how you can feel like you won the lottery so many times over?
Long before I had such a personal connection with the world of disability, as a teenager, I used to waitress in a restaurant.
An older gentleman with Down syndrome used to come in for coffee every day. When he left, he'd always empty his pocket, and gruffly say to me, "That's all I've got" - some days he'd leave 2 or 3 cents, some days a quarter.
Its like the Winnie the Pooh expression, "I may not have much, but you can always have half." :)
Jennifer, I did publish it on the blog a long while back, it's the pledge of personal power ... if you can't find it, email me and I'll send you a copy. Dave
What a priceless gift.
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