Sunday, February 16, 2014

Overcoming Difficulties

On the opinion page of the Peace Weekly is a column by the four-fingered pianist Lee Hee-ah (Hyacintha), who writes about how she copes with physical disability and discrimination.

I love baby Jesus, she begins, because, like me, he is small. He was born in a manger so all could  touch him. The angels sang: "Glory to God in high heaven, peace on earth to those on whom his favor rests." God was not loving those who live in palaces, she points out, but the shepherds in the  fields.

Some months ago a writer from a Korean TV station came to see me, she says. Years ago when I was in elementary school, he made a documentary about me titled: "I Can Do It." The documentary moved the hearts of  many. This time he is writing a book about what people would like to have inscribed on their tombstones. The inscription I would like is "I am small but happy." Usually, journalists who interview me ask: what makes me sad.  Though six of my fingers are missing and I'm short and have low intelligence and people make fun of me--all of which is true. I have not once been sad because of those things.

Because my mother has 6 more fingers than I do is no concern to me.  I thank God for the two fingers on each hand that I have.  I wrote in my diary, when I was in the third grade, that those four fingers were my treasure.  Because I do not have any legs and am small of stature does not make me sad.  My best fans are the children I can look at face to face, and share my love with them, which gives me great joy.

Because of my low intelligence, I can't use figures well, but that isn't a problem. I have other ways of handling that issue. When I go overseas with my mother, she has difficulty with jet lag, but since I have no interest in numbers, when I finish the performance, I go to bed and wake up at dawn. I thank God for this.

Since my features are different from others, they call me an alien, a monster, scissor-fingers, crab hands, but when children make fun of me with these names, I do not become upset. Children are honest; they express what they  see.  My appearance is unique, which draws  attention, but I am thankful for what I do have, for I am able to make God better known.

I have been given the ability to love myself with a joyous heart; I am happy for that. I have a beautiful voice with which I can praise God  and transmit his words; I am happy also for that. Since I am small like baby Jesus, people can easily approach me to hug me. I am able to deal with  pain  and endure the difficulties that come. And I give thanks to God that those who come to see me play only because of my disability may often leave encouraged to accept more willingly their own difficulties. 

Each day at three o'clock I  pray the mercy prayer, and thank sinless Jesus for the passion that he suffered, which enables me to endure all the difficulties I have experienced because of his great love.

Jesus, the  light of mercy, has taken this small pianist, Hyacintha, as his bride. I take you, the baby Jesus, as the one who loves me, who being small, and I being small can more easily share our love for one another. With my small body and soul, I can offer everything  to God, my father. This gives me joy and happiness.

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