'The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.'
-John Pierpont Morgan
As the saying goes, the first step is always the hardest.
I've never agreed with that completely.
I think the first step can be difficult, but the second is usually harder. The first step can, most of the time, be achieved in many circumstances through emotion, through adrenaline, or through sheer force of will and determination. Sometimes even by luck or circumstance.
As it pertains to the facilitation of the giving of an iPad2 for Christopher, that was achieved in one fell swoop by a single donor, and the entire process was well underway by the time that this site was even in its infancy. Even the next two? Mostly covered by the generosity of a single donation.
But I'm not talking about actual donations-to-iPads specifically, more about the actual Mission itself, and the setting of all of its wheels into motion. Its been a daunting, exhausting, stressful task and sometimes a little overwhelming. Taking that first step to make the decision to do this was easy, but all the steps afterward have each had their own unique challenges.
But when you see pictures of children like Luke Lundgren getting his iPad2, all you feel is joy. All you feel is relief and hope.
You smile and recognize that, in the end, any challenges that you have faced are so very minor in the face of the challenges that these children are confronted with every day, every moment, and those that they have yet to face...for the rest of their lives.
It is remarkably humbling, that much I can promise you. And even moreso to hear the sheer exuberance in the tone of Luke's mother, Kristi, when she e-mailed us mere HOURS after getting the iPad delivered:
'Luke is loving his iPad! With his cortical visual impairment, the interactive (lighted) screen has been wonderful. The bright colors and enlarged print allow him the best visual interaction possible. He adores the Touch and Say app. (highly recommend it!) He's been repeating the sounds he hears and singing along with parts of songs. It's a fun app! The other thing we're encouraged about are his fine motor skills. Before we got the iPad, Luke was just starting to figure out the use of his pointer finger. The iPad is really reinforcing this skill and teaching him better fine motor control. It's such a great device for a kid like Luke!'
I read that, and then started opening these photos that came into the Inbox.
I was speechless.
The irony of that statement, or even this Mission sometimes, is not lost on me.
Here, regarding communication-related disabilities, and an original contest for communication-based technology, specifically the Apple iPad2, where a lack of communication resulted in mistrust, doubt and ultimately action.
A community rattled by accusations, suppositions and secretive communication. And a person who struggles at times to manage his own communication effectively, representing a group who has made it their Mission to do what they can to fulfill promises broken, while sometimes struggling to communicate as effectively as they would like to with each other.
But then you see the wonder and the power and the potential in the eyes of a boy like Luke, and it is like a magical elixir, a healing agent, and when you drink from that cup it is like you have been filled by something so much more powerful and so much more significant than anything you have ever known and will ever know again and you are significantly and forever changed because of it.
And nothing else matters. Period.
But the greatest thing to take from the experience is the knowledge that these photos, even though they symbolize the completion of a 'Mission', an accomplishment of a goal, is to know that this is not an ending at all.
It is a beginning...a beginning for Luke, and for the Lundgrens, as they enter a whole new world of communicating with each other.
On behalf of:
The Mission: iPossible! Group