NOTE: The names Martinka and Maťka are interchangeable, and here belong to one person. They are familiarized alternatives to Martina. Just like Charlie is to Charles.

God has gifted everyone with unique abilities. True, a person often has a tendency to doubt that. I also see myself among the doubters. However, when I look back into the past, I find that I am wrong. My good Father has gifted me with a willingness to help to the extent of my ability. Despite my physical disability, I managed to offer a helping hand to a person with almost the same disability as I myself have. I offered help gladly and freely, though my help often lacked the so-called perfection. Even so, if something is itself meaningful, it is sound to do it though it be imperfect.

Let me tell you a story.

In the city of Humenne, the Podskalka special care center I resided in also doubled as a daycare facility. It often came about that morning shift teacher became sick and the nursery children would then be divided into upper-grade classrooms. Once there, they watched older students during class. It was on such occasion that a four-year-old Martinka joined our classroom. They brought her in a wheelchair. Martinka could barely hold herself on her four-wheeled steed. Her speaking was fine. Her arms, however, were feeble. During snack recess, the students ate. Kids, who didn’t have problems walking, would make their way to the cafeteria where the cooking ladies handed out meals. To the kids, however, who stayed in classrooms, nurses would bring their food. I was one of those who rarely ate during snack recess. We did not want to become fat so that social care workers wouldn’t bury us in references to our bodyweight. This defense actually didn’t work, it only undermined my health. A nurse approached Martinka and shoved in her hand a piece of bread with mustard and bacon on it. Because she couldn’t hold it in her hand, Martinka burst into tears. The nurse then began yelling at Martinka:
“Stop howling here! Eat or you’ll be hungry! I don’t have time to feed you all the time!”
After those harsh words, little Maťka began to sob twice as hard . The weeping of the little blonde girl urged me to take up a seemingly impossible challenge. I addressed the nurse:
“You know what? I won’t eat. Bring Martinka closer to me so I can feed her.”
The ticked off nurse did not say a word, pushed Martinka closer to me, and put the bread in my hand. She then grabbed the tray with meals and left. Martinka looked at me with teary eyes and asked:
“Can you do it?”
I shrugged my shoulders: “I have to, yes,” I replied to Maťka to calm her.

For me, even holding the bread was demanding. Feeding Maťka caused me pain and I even stained my hands with mustard. With each bite, the bread crumbledcenough to feed perhaps a few anthills or bird nests. Martina ate slowly and so I fed her even during reading class. The teacher kept eyeballing me but did not say a word. When I finished feeding Martinka, I quietly took out my practice book and quickly looked up the read-aloud article that my classmate Iveta was reading.
The teacher then asked me to read: „Let’s see how you read it now when you are not doing what you are supposed to!“
To the teacher’s surprise, I continued reading as if I was following the text from the beginning. In our class, my ability aroused interest. As an eleven-year-old, I handled the nurse’s job even though it was a demanding task for my motor skills. The school staff for a long time viewed my versatility as an exception of a physically disabled child. Sadly, the staff of the residential part of the center treated us, the physically disabled children, often ruthlessly. This physical ability, which I was gifted with, served me for the next five years. However, I believe that if I saw somebody treating someone the same way that nurse treated Martinka, I would „reboot“ and find again within me the strength to help. Just like during childhood.

God teaches me through such events that I am at least somewhat capable. And yes, I often do desire more. Although I often get caught up in feelings of worthlessness, I know that I am not unable to do anything. Surely, God has gifted me with something. I learned that when the time comes, I can be at least of some use. Hopefully, my short stories book will also be of good use. I am convinced, though, that this story is not only about me. I have many friends, whom I really like. They are physically fit and yet see themselves as worthless.

If you are one of them, please do not give up on your gifts. You can always find some way to help those around you. Your will to help makes you capable. As my motto says: „Once I have to do it, I will do it.“ However, I must not forget that it is not purely my merit. The credit goes mainly to my steadfast and unseen Guide.