Following is Mary Grace’s story:
"I was born with a handicap. My right arm is a “stump” and my right leg is small and eight inches shorter than the left, with only three toes.
"I had a very difficult time growing up because of how I look. “When I was just a child, I used to look at the mirror and wonder why I didn’t have a right hand like everyone else.
“I used to ask myself what did I do to deserve being born like this.
“I didn’t have any friends, even in school. I was never invited to parties and was shunned by people.
“Some of my family members were embarrassed to be seen with me.
“I was practically hidden as a child.
“When guests came to our home to visit, I was told to stay in my room, or I had to cover my stump.
“As a child, I couldn’t do any menial jobs like buttoning my dress or taking off a candy wrapper. I felt so sorry for myself, especially when kids made fun of me. Their taunting hurt.
“I wear a platform orthopedic shoe on my right foot so I can walk and not limp.
“I wear pants or long skirt to hide my short, ugly leg.
“For a long time, I didn’t have any self-confidence; my self-esteem was very low. I used to (and sometimes still do) cry myself to sleep.
“If not for God sustaining me, I would have never made it this far.
“But in spite of everything, I finished college with a degree in psychology. I took psychology to understand why people stare at me (ha ha).
“Today, I can almost do anything like a normal person with two hands.
“I no longer feel sorry for myself, for I believe that God does not create “JUNK.”
“One great thing that God gave me is my gift to play the piano.
“I was five years old when my Grandma saw my interest and found a piano teacher for me.
“The first three piano teachers whom I approached didn’t want to teach a one-handed student. But my Grandma told them to teach me for one hand and she’ll pay for two, and the fourth teacher took me.
“After I started my piano lessons, I found out that I could play with my stump.
“Playing the piano became the outlet to all my sadness.
“Sometimes my back and my stump hurt when I play, but I like to inspire people through my music, and it has become my passion.
“I wish to inspire people, especially the handicapped or differently abled. There are so many people out there who are despised by society because they are not physically or mentally perfect. People who had become a nuisance and a burden to others. People who are told to stay away (like me when I was a child). People who are ignored.
“Due to neglect, they go into pits of despair and utter depression. They become sick and wish that life’s over for them.
“I wish to be an INSPIRATION to others and to give honor to God for creating me this way.”
Mary inspired me because her physical defect did not stop her from becoming an accomplished pianist. She said “I’ve promised myself that I will never ever take this disability of mine as a hindrance.” Not only is she great with piano playing, but also she excels in improvisation.
I urge you to set taking your piano playing to the next level in 2014 as one of your new year’s resolutions and write down some concrete ideas and plans, so you know what you’re aiming for. If you do, you’ll have a much better chance of achieving your goals. Feel free to share your new year’s resolutions with others.