Acton Institute Powerblog

The Mirage of Disability

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Annette Gabbedy is a business owner and expert designer and goldsmith. She was also born without fingers, a disposition many might consider a “disability,” particularly in her line of work.

Yet, as you’ll see in the following video, having created and traded her wares for 23 years, Gabbedy sees no reason for this to inhibit her creativity and contribution to society.

As Gabbedy explains:

I tend to really look at people with fingers and think: Well, how can you manage with fingers, because they must get in the way? It’s just your own perceptive of how you look at yourself, and for me, I was born like it, so I’ve never known any different. I’m quite normal. I’m not disabled at all.

Gabbedy’s story is yet another example of the ways human creativity and determination so often surprise us, transcending and exceeding what turn out to be rather limited assumptions and expectations.

We all have “disabilities,” of course, each varying in extremity and difficulty, and capacity. But let us never forget that each person has something to contribute, and far too often, what we assume to be an impediment to service turns out to be quite the opposite.

Joseph Sunde is an associate editor and writer for the Acton Institute. His work has appeared in venues such as The Federalist, First Things, The City, The Christian Post, The Stream, Charisma News, Juicy Ecumenism, Ethika Politika, Made to Flourish, and the Center for Faith and Work. Joseph resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and four children.

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