Senior Casey Schaub wrote this for a class in the Comprehensive Leadership Program. Her piece was among several ‘This I believe’ essays published in The Gonzaga Bulletin this spring.

By Casey Schuab (’11)

I believe in always getting up off the ground. I must admit that over the years I have become acquainted with concrete, gravel, asphalt and cobblestones more often than I would have preferred; however, the momentary face-to-face meetings I have had with the paths upon which I have tread have taught me some great lessons.

I have concluded that whoever invented rubber crutch tips must have not tested them before placing them on the market. I acknowledge that these innovative pieces of equipment are intended to aid my walking but they are often the culprit, which causes me to find myself yet again on the ground. The traction on crutch tips is relatively non-existent which means that when I encounter the natural elements of water, ice or snow, I am definitely at the mercy of whether these crutches want to keep me upright. Before long, with my crutches outstretched, I resemble Bambi attempting to walk for the first time and find myself sprawled out flat on the ground. Once again, we meet.

I have found the ground is quite dependable. I know what to expect from it. Each time we have an encounter I know that it is the result of me being too daring; attempting to walk with one crutch or thinking that I can overcome those stairs instead of utilizing the ramp. It is like a game we play that I can never win. The ground: 1; Casey: 0. While I have not won as many games, we have gladly shed more laughs than tears on the playing field, and for this, I am eternally grateful.

I must thank the ground for the many friendships I have made. Falling down and finding myself on the ground has taught me about the goodness of humanity. I have been offered a helping hand and asked if I was OK more times than I can recall, both from those I know well and complete strangers. I have seen the Good Samaritan.

The ground has been very forgiving to me. Having never broken a bone, I am confident that I have bones of steel. Surely, it has offered the occasional scar or bruise as a reminder that I need to be careful, but it never discourages me from navigating the world in my own way. Each mark I receive from the ground is a gift bestowed upon me and an indication of a relentless refusal to be defined by the limits of my disability.

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