Of all your achievements, what are you most proud of?

That was what a reporter wanted to know while she interviewed me for a newspaper feature. All the major accomplishments I've achieved in my twenty-five years swam through my head at lightning speed. Which is my proudest achievement?

I could tell her that I was most proud of mastering grade level after only about 180 days of school attendance. You see, owing to years of hospitalization for the severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that has been ravaging my body since infancy, I didn't receive any education until age eleven when my health was finally stabilized. Back then, I only knew my ABCs and very simple English; I knew that two plus two equaled four and that three times five made fifteen. I had no idea from where rain came or why a beautiful rainbow would soon follow. Therefore, I was placed in a special education class in elementary school.

Wanting to learn as much as I could as quickly as possible, I absorbed all that was taught in class, and mostly self-taught myself how to read; like Cookie Monster, I devoured one book after another as though they were chocolate chip cookies, yet always hungered for more.

My thirst for knowledge paid off after only about 180 days of attendance, for I had mastered grade level and immediately entered regular sixth grade in middle school.

Or I could tell the reporter that I'm proudest of the fact that without either eyesight or Braille, I was able to write and calculate long chemistry equations in my head, and complete my GED test, including mathematical calculations and problem solving, graphs, and an essay; still scoring an exceptional 3280 on the test, for which I received a special recognition award.

Perhaps my proudest achievement is that I'm able to write, format, publish, and promote my books, and design and maintain my own Web site, as a blind award-winning author with two handful of book awards.

But, you see, all that would be a lie. None of these things is what I'm most proud of.

"That I'm happy with my life," I answered the reporter unhesitatingly.
"There are people who seem to have everything, but they lack happiness in their lives. They envy what others have and aren't content with what they have," I explained. "But despite my multiple physical disabilities and all that I have to go through, I'm very happy with my life. I'm content with what I have. That's what I'm most proud of."

How does a blind and physically disabled individual find happiness and contentment?

I've well experienced firsthand that everything in life is divided into mainly two compartments: the worldly and the spiritual. Worldly belongings will die with your flesh, whereas the spiritual are everlasting. I also learned from the wise Teacher that the darkness, pain, and suffering of the worldly will all be things of the past, and death will be our last enemy, so it brings no fruit to those who dwell upon the passing trials and tribulations but it will be rewarding for those who use challenges as exercise machines for their minds and spirits.

Therefore, I have enthusiastically embraced the spiritual realm of life with my whole heart and soul, and it has been the foundation of my happiness despite all the high mountains I have had to scale. Specifically, the cornerstone of my bliss lies in my deep faith in Jehovah God Almighty; it has allowed me to love and appreciate the life He has graciously given me, in turn, enabling me to conquer fiery oceans and thorny jungles to come out with stars in my arms.

If your best friend gives you a special present, would you not do your very best to care for it? My life is the most precious present God has bestowed upon me, so I don't want to give it up. I cannot give it up. I must not give it up. I have the responsibility to make the most of my situation, to embrace all life has to offer, to return Heavenly Father's unconditional love by accepting a virtuous way of life, and to share the good with others. And fulfilling my responsibilities makes me the happiest gal you'll ever meet!

Author's Bio: 

Shirley Cheng (b. 1983), a blind and physically disabled award-winning author (with 21 book awards, including nine Parent to Parent Adding Wisdom Awards), motivational speaker, self-empowerment expert, poet, author of nine books (including "Do You Love Jehovah? God Almighty's Infinite Love & Wisdom to Propel You to Greatness"), contributor to nineteen, and a parental rights advocate, has had severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritis since infancy. Owing to years of hospitalization, she received no education until age eleven. Back then, she knew only her ABCs and very simple English; other than that, her book knowledge was non-existent. However, after only about 180 days of special education in elementary school, she mastered grade level in all areas and entered a regular sixth grade class in middle school. Unfortunately, Shirley lost her eyesight at the age of seventeen. After a successful eye surgery, she hopes to earn multiple science doctorates from Harvard University. Visit http://www.shirleycheng.com for more inspiration.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Something you don't understand? Do you need a bit of guidance in developing a relationship with Jehovah? Then Shirley would like to help you! Please contact her via her site at http://www.shirleycheng.com and she would be more than glad to do her best to answer your questions! Never hesitate to ask questions, for no question about the Bible is ever too small or stupid.