Dan Spelt.

Today’s post is a very special one that is near and dear to my heart. It’s not about clothes, it’s not a guest blogger, but more importantly, it is about a guy who touched my heart this semester. (I swear this is not a diary post)

Back in September, I was approached to tutor a computer science student in his business elective course. Now, I’m the type of girl who has a hard time saying no to things and most of the time, I over commit myself. This sometimes results in spreading myself too thin and unfortunately letting someone down eventually. As I am getting “older”, I am trying to learn to say no right away verses saying yes and having them rely on me, only to not deliver on my end. Which in my opinion, is worse. As much as I want to take on the world, I am learning that I also need to be realistic with my time. So at first, my initial response was to decline since I had a full course load, a part time job and several other extracurricular commitments. Not to mention, dreams and visions for e31. (: However, after a few email exchanges, I strongly felt that I at least owed this individual-who was a complete stranger- the chance of meeting him and possibly referring someone else to tutor him. I was aware that Dan had a disability, but I wasn’t too sure what it was and to what extent.

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My first Meeting with Dan.
Dan and I arranged that I would meet him at the CanAssist Building on the UVic campus where he works part time as a software developer. When I first arrived, I was completely overwhelmed when I first saw Dan sitting in his wheel chair with his hands tied to the sides and him coding with his mouth on the upright keyboard. I was not prepared and it was then when I learnt that Dan has cerebral palsy. During my conversation with Dan, there were many times where I simply could not understand him but did not want to be rude by asking him to repeat himself. I could tell that he had so many words that he just wanted to spit out but had a hard time articulating.I felt frustrated for him. I remember distinctly when Dan tried to show me his course syllabus online that it took him several tries to type in the website correctly and all I wanted to do was just to help him. It was then when I was first reminded how fortunate I am to be capable of doing small things such as typing with two hands. After learning that his course was Systems Analysis (probably one of my least favorite courses in business), I was even more confident that in addition to not having the time to tutor Dan, I wouldn’t feel confident in my knowledge of the topic to feel like I could benefit him as his tutor. After talking with Dan and getting to know him for a bit, I left the building and went straight to my car and cried. I was so disappointed in myself with how ignorant I was with not knowing anything about Dan’s condition. I also felt an extreme sense of guilt with how much I complain, when at the end of the day, I have absolutely no reason to. I am healthy and blessed to be able to study and learn independently and not have to rely on others heavily. It was then when I realized that maybe God had put Dan into my life for me not to help Dan, but more so for Dan to help me.

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My Decision.
The next morning, I emailed Dan and agreed to be his tutor. I told him that even though I have no experience or advanced knowledge in this course, I would do my best and commit to helping him learn. Dan and I would meet 3 times a week to go through the material and help him with online quizzes and assignments. During our sessions, I quickly learnt how smart of a guy Dan is and was amazed at how quickly he would pick up the material. At times, he would be the one teaching me, ha! After spending time with Dan, his disability became less and less apparent and I saw him for who he is: a sweet, polite, brilliant gentleman with a great sense of humour-a child of God. It always amazed me how during my walk across campus to tutor Dan, I would be completely stressed out with how much I had to get done by the end of the day. Yet the moment I would see Dan and his smile, I would completely forget what I was feeling so stressed about. Dan would always ask me how my day was going and would be such a gentleman by allowing me to walk first ahead of him. Our hour and a half sessions would fly by and by the end, I would leave the building as if Dan personally lifted the weight of stress off my shoulders and I felt even more motivated to get my work done.

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The Outcome.
Dan taught me a tremendous amount this semester, not only with several keyboard short cuts and computer tricks (I later learned that Dan knows how to code in 10 languages!) and cerebral palsy, but more importantly, how to not take the small things in life for granted. In addition, a big one for me was patience. Dan reignited a sense of passion to not waste time on the weekends but to go off and explore God’s creation and beauty as he is not able to as easily. I often wonder why I didn’t have the desire in my heart to study abroad like most business students at UVic this semester. I now believe that God wanted me to stay in Victoria so that I could meet Dan.

I want to leave today’s post by encouraging you if you are doubting what you are doing in life or where you are currently situated. Please know that God has you exactly where He wants you to be and He will use you for incredible things right where you are. Be willing, be open, and most importantly, say YES! If it’s something God wants you to do, He will equip you and provide you with the resources. I was amazed that somehow, there was still enough hours in the day.

“For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” Philippians 2:13

Please take the time to learn about Cerebral Palsy here.

This one is for you Dan. Thanks for being my constant reminder that the only limitations that we have are the ones that we place on our selves. You will always have a special place in my heart and I am so thankful for the friendship that we developed after 3 short months.

One of your biggest fans,

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