Independence Day: Celebrating Inclusivity and Independence with a Disability

A year ago, Barton and I spent the day recording a video that would be used in an application for The Coaches Training Institute Certification Scholarship Program.

Barton had just had surgery to replace his Baclofen pump, and the call for scholarship applications went out the week of his surgery, with the deadline the week after. We were both worried. How would he perform in a video after having gone through surgery, laced with the effects of anesthesia?

Amazingly, Barton came out of surgery fairly unscathed. We walked down the street for an outdoor video shoot. However, it was the summer, and the neighborhood was filled with the sound of lawn mowers and electric bush trimmers. We had one afternoon, and time was running short.

Venturing back inside, Barton wanted to do take after take- he wanted it to be just right. We spent hours making sure to pull out key words and phrases that highlighted his message. It had to be just right. And hours before the deadline, he submitted his application.

Barton Cutter: CTI Co-Active Coaching Application Video

This Independence Day, I worked on projects in the morning, piled up from week that had set us both behind schedule. At lunch, we had to get out.

We had to get outdoors. We had just found Durant Nature Park a few weeks ago, where we had enjoyed lunch by the side of the lake, looking at turtles delicately balancing on the log resting in the water. This time, however, we would be a bit more adventurous.

Barton Cutter navigating the path not taken at Durant Nature Park.

Barton Cutter navigating the path not taken at Durant Nature Park.

We had to take the path not taken.

Beginning with a bridge with a little drop on the other edge. There would be no return, only forward. The path was laden with tree roots and branches, over dry waterbeds, and over small bridges.

For an able bodied person, we don’t think about stepping over a trees roots walking down a path. For a motorized wheelchair, however, tree roots become river rapids to navigate through with the greatest care.

With each set, Barton would look ahead with a gleam in his eye, formulating how he would navigate through, twisting and turning his wheelchair to match the flat places around the roots of a tree.

Barton was filled with phrases such as: I don’t need any pavement. Who needs sidewalks?

On the other hand, I was filled with: To the left, go left, you got it! Or, we’re idiots (in a nice wifey way). If we get stuck in the storm…

Indeed, off in the distance, thunder echoed. I looked at my phone: the storm would be here in one hour. We picked up the pace, or tried to. Emerging through the wood back onto the path we were familiar with, we took a deep breath.

Barton and Megan- made it in the nick of time.

Barton and Megan- made it in the nick of time.

As we approached the van in the parking lot, rain fell from the skies, waiting to burst. We laughed the whole way home as sheets of water poured down.

Our adventure echoes our life, full of twists and turns that we didn’t expect.

In the year since applying for CTI’s scholarship, Barton has transformed an organization, from the inside out with The Co-Active Accessibility Project. He is coaching clients and working towards completing his certification in the fall. And, I found a position that I love, that stretches me in new ways, where I feel valued and use all of my skills.

We still struggle in the balance of life, to get everything done that we need to, and we have navigated unknown health issues that puzzle and worry us. We are determined to work on finances, even though we get hit with unplanned repairs to take care of, quirky attacks that try to deplete us of resources and energy.

And, we feel closer to each other, with love that crosses oceans and mountains as we look into each other’s eyes.

Truly, it is an Independence Day to celebrate.

Related Posts:
Evolutions in the Co-Active Accessibility Project: A Conversation on Wholeness
Evolutions in the Co-Active Accessibility Project: Honoring the Lens of Challenge
Evolutions in the Co-Active Accessibility Project: Evoke Mutual Inclusivity



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