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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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'Make Me More Like Joe!'
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Thursday, October 06, 2011

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A man learns to accept a man who has mental disabilities.

I gotta admire a guy like Joe Chadwick.

I mean, nothing really upsets him.  He's one of the most easy-going, friendly people I have ever met in my life.

That's kinda hard to believe, considering that Joe Chadwick has everything going against him.  He was born with brain damage that left him with the mind of a young child of six or seven.  He is in a wheelchair: dude cannot walk.  Also wears braces on both legs.  He works five days a week at a sheltered workshop for people with disabilities and doesn't make all that much.

He gets a disability stipend every month, but it isn't enough to live on or allow for extras.  He has to save every penny until his bank account whimpers.  He enjoys what he does, but I worry about him.  I mean, I am sure he wishes that he had more money or a better place to live, but as far as I know, Joe is content with what little he already has.

Joe lives in my apartment complex, across the street.  He lives with his sister, who is his caregiver.  They are extrmely close and are usually seen together if he isn't at work.

Joe is a born-again Christian.  He accepted Jesus Christ when he was younger and can now be found in the neighborhood, quoting Bible verses from a children's Bible verses and telling others about Jesus.  

I kiddingly call him "Preacher Joe".

While Joe Chadwick is happy go lucky and friendly, I am more of a cynic.  I have always sported a rather bad attitude about everything: my job, my girlfriend, my family, my very life ... and I have everything.  A car in great working order.  A well-paying job (I work with my dad in his stockbroker office; he is teaching me the ropes).  Friends coming out the woodwork.  A college degree in Business Science.  A good-looking girlfriend that causes heads to turn  The chance to go on exotic trips with friends or my parents.

Yet I am not happy.  Somehow I feel ... empty inside.  It seems as if what I have accomplished in my life has only brought me despair and frustration because I am so wrapped up in different projects: I hardly have any time for me anymore.  I'm always working or doing something to get even further ahead.

Joe, meanwhile, only has his job and his sister to worry about.  Someone else takes care of his bills and other necessities: he hardly has to lift a finger.  He has a good life and my life is quickly unraveling!

I just wish I could be more like Joe and less like myself.  My life is getting me down and I am more than ready to just hang it all up and say: "Stuff it, Pops (or life)!"  My life is too full of stress that I don't even need!!!! 

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Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 11/3/2011
Karen an awesome story, I think this man needs to realize he could be more like Joe, if he had Christ in his heart, well told story as always
In Christs Love
Reviewed by daphne hart 10/7/2011
You see Karen,
Other than Joe's disabilities, he has somthing that money cannot buy. He has CHRIST in his vessel so, he can smile at all the storms
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 10/6/2011
There, but for the Grace of God ... I could be Joe. More like the character who wishes they were more like Joe. Well done, Karen. Powerful lessons in these lines ...

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
Reviewed by Paul Berube 10/6/2011
Nice story, Karen. Very well done.

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