Note: Audio version available free at: http://benevolencejwest.weebly.com/
In 1946, at the age of one, I contracted Polio. Suddenly, a world of infinite possibilities collapsed in upon me. Everything was now a struggle: breathing, lifting my arms, learning to walk. Nothing came easily.
And the suffering wasn’t just physical. Gradually, I learned about rejection. The subtle, and not so subtle messages that society delivers to the weak and deformed. To protect myself, walls went up. This meant that in various ways I was also emotionally paralysed. Wasn’t a promising start, but nevertheless, my life has been remarkable.
I played many sports with a vengeance, engaged in petty crime for years, excelled at school and University, bought, sold and consumed drugs. Crossed and re-crossed continents, eluding police from Mexico to India.
At twenty-eight, I abruptly changed direction, and by doing so was able to help many others.
Now, at the end of an event filled life, how do I feel towards the Polio virus which attacked that soft and innocent child those many years ago? Well, life hasn’t been easy, but it sure has been interesting. Perhaps I should thank that microbe for its blind Benevolence?
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