A Challenging Year

By Thomas Jakobs December 05, 2013

A Challenging Year

By: Thomas Jakobs

As we come to the close of 2013, I’ve been thinking about the year. In some ways a lot has happened. In other ways there is still much to do.

I learn so much from our Be-X clients. For example, Wes has achieved miracles this year. He sustained his spinal cord injury when he was 16 – before he ever had a job. He worked hard to get his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, but he hasn’t been able to find employment. So, being impossible to discourage for long, Wes decided to start his own company. With the help of Arkansas Rehab Services, John Riggins, and others associated with Be-X, he launched “Wes Wilson Tutoring” last summer. A few weeks ago Wes tutored his first paying student. Earlier this week he received his first check. These are milestones that few people with Wes’ physical abilities achieve – yet it is just the beginning.

Ronnie is a new Be-X client in 2013. He’s young, lives in a skilled nursing facility, is able to move his jaw a little, and wants to go to college. We put together a laptop and some special software from Words+ so that Ronnie could type into a computer (thanks to funding from the Arkansas Spinal Cord Commission and InvoTek). He types by activating a switch whenever the software highlights the letter he wants. I didn’t think Ronnie was going to put in the hard work needed to use this system – but I was very wrong! Now we have to help him go to college.

There are six more stories that I could tell you – all in 2013. All of them demonstrate progress, but end with the need to do more.

When I tell people about Be-X, I often hear “you must find your work so satisfying!” But that isn’t what I feel. I see what could be and I know the day-to-day hard work needed to get there – or at least maybe get there. I see what we achieve and I know how much help we need. What I feel is hunger. Hunger to do better. Hunger to rest. And a deep sense of being a part of a process that is sacred. Thanks to all of you who make Be-X what it is. I need you, I know it, and this is as it should be.