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Born Without Arms, "Just Be Normal"

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Published on Jun 19, 2013

Greg Buell doesn't have all the answers, but for now he's learning to live with mystery. When he was born, the doctors told his parents that he'd never walk, or be able to do anything on his own. Now, he lives an independent life, solving each new problem as it comes.

He hasn't found an easy answer as to why he has to struggle with the challenges he was born with, but maybe faith is not always about easy answers. Greg lives every day face to face with a mystery he can't understand—but, whether we realize it or not, don't we all?

Greg: The phrase I heard around my family a lot was "just be normal." "Just be normal, suck it up, go to school, have a good day." [Background music begins] I was born without arms, and my parents didn't know that I was going to be born without arms until I popped out. Originally, doctors told my parents that I would never walk, never eat on my own, or never live on my own, that I would be requiring 24 hours of care throughout the rest of my life. So a pretty bleak prognosis from the doctors when I was born. [Driving up to give card to attendant] "Hey man, how's it going?" Attendant: "Not too bad. Thank you sir!" Greg: "Thank you!"

Greg: [Music continues] I was probably in my mid-twenties when a friend asked me and said, "Do you recognize that you're different, that there's something about you that you can't escape and that you are inherently different and no matter what you try to do to minimize it there's something that stands out?" So I think what it took later in life is that second phase of that there's a certain level of difference that you can't mask and that you need to own that and be comfortable with who you are in that in order to really develop and mature as a person.

[Greg talking to co-workers in the office] We have bio on the client on the creative concepts. They do a fund raiser every spring in May that's a major donor fund raiser. They're basically saying we get a ton of great resource from that fundraiser about people who get up and share about how their lives have been changed dramatically. They're just saying, "Why couldn't we just feature one of those stories and make it really emotional?"

Greg: [Music continues] For some reason I always think of creation as a conveyer belt. Was God just not paying attention when I went by on the conveyer belt and wasn't able to correct things? Was he present and literally made me this way with a disability. I think those are the conversations that keep coming up is to keep asking God why . . . I just don't get it. So I think one of the key passages for me is John 9, with the man born blind. There's a guy born blind, and the Pharisees ask Jesus and try to trick him into getting caught into a conundrum. "Who sinned . . . did his parents or did he sin that he would be born blind?" Jesus says, "It's neither his parents nor he who sinned, it's for my glory." Are you kidding me? Like, I was created this way for a little bit more glory? I can stare at the mountains and get a ton of glory from God's creation. Do you really need in me, this tiny little human, to offer You a tiny bit more glory that pales in comparison to everything else. I don't like that answer. I don't like the fact that I have to deal with everything on a day to day basis in a totally different way that makes me stand out and look different and struggle with things. I don't like that answer as to why I was made this way.

[Greg at Church Service] At some level, in order not to live and not be stuck in not being able to get out of bed in the morning, I've got to allow for some mystery and say, "I just don't get it right now, but I'm going to choose to trust and choose to move on and choose to live out what I've been given."

[Walking down the sidewalk and sitting in a coffee shop] Because it there's one hope that I have it's that I haven't been created this way or made this way or He hasn't affected my body in some way to make me be born this way for no reason. I'm hopeful that there's a reason for this, and I have maybe yet to discover all of those details . . . but at least I can live my life out in a way that is hopefully helping other people learn.

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