Thursday, July 19, 2018

Wherever You Are Be Happy - Welcome to Holland

Welcome to Holland by Emily Pearl

I am often asked to describe the experience of having a disability or a huge disappointment in life - to try to help people who have not had this experience to understand it, to imagine how it feels.

When you're planning your life and your retirement, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You save your money, buy a bunch of guidebooks and make your wonderful plans - the Coliseum, the Michelangelo, David, and the gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. Your bags are packed and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!" you say. "What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed and planned for a trip to Italy!"

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, filthy place full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. It's slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.
But after you've been there awhile, and you catch your breath, you look around and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. Holland has Rembrandts.

So you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say, "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever go away, because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But if you spend your life mourning that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.

by Emily Pearl

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