Occasionally, I look back in the archives of my writings and find something that touches me all over again. “Rising above Adversity” was written in 2011. Today it has the same message for it is hardly possible to turn on the TV or listen to the news without hearing situations of adverse circumstances. Some join the crowds and do nothing to make someone’s life better. Others take the adversity and bring out the best that life has to offer, regardless of the cause. They don’t burn down hard-earned businesses, but look for ways to improve life. It is often a tough choice between what is right and what is wrong. Perhaps we need to take a second look at some instances of this.
Emanuel Kelly and his brother had deformities at birth from gas poisoning in Iraq. They were abandoned by their birth parents in a box and were was found by a Christian Nun who took them to an orphanage. A woman who was an aid worker from Australia reached out to save their lives. Mrs. Kelly decided to adopt the boys and give them a home. Both boys had major deformities and were missing arms. Growing up, Emanuel just wanted to sing and as he did so, he was encouraged to enter musical competition.
How do people rise above great adversity? Sometimes it is a mystery. There is something in the human soul that says, “I may be different…or life may not be fair….but I have something special. I want to be the person that I was meant to be.”
Intervention is also important. There were many factors that lay before these two boys. The nun who found them could have tried to find someone in the village of Iraq to take them, rather than caring for them in an overcrowded orphanage, especially with such disabilities.
Mrs. Kelly saw two boys that needed her decisive action. She took them to Australia for medical care, but most of all she showered them with love and acceptance. It took intervention for the young men to rise above their own adversity. Emanuel did not know how old he was because there had been no paper work left in the box. He also found the he was more than a deformed person. He found that he had great ability and worth. This leads me to say that perhaps what the society or a person thinks of his own worth is probably the most crucial factor in overcoming adversity.
Noted for his singing ability and song writing, Emanuel did not win the X-Factor Australia competition, but he continues to use his talents today.
Adversity is everywhere in varying degrees. We may be faced with it today or tomorrow…or have been in the past. Nevertheless, rising above whatever comes or has been is the only way to make meaning of life.
INTERVIEW WITH EMANUEL
Ahmed Kelly, Emanuel’s brother, at London Para-Olympics Finals…. swimming the breaststroke