Monday, March 26, 2012


I’m enthusiastic about this bright, new term being used to describe “special needs” children and adults. It is high time that we encourage and enable people of all ability levels to let their unique lights shine. Hats off to communities and groups and schools and churches that sponsor mainstream sports and cultural events for these precious individuals. Mentally and physically and socially many of them can far surpass previous expectations for their development.

As a matter of fact, all of us are “special needs” people as we seek to express the abilities, talents, skills, and aptitudes with which we have been endowed by our Creator. Beyond those natural and inherited gifts, are the Gifts of the Spirit which the Holy Spirit Himself apportions to Christians—“according to His will” for the building up of His Body, the Church. We are all “differently-abled individuals.” The Scriptures explain that not all possess the same gifts or abilities, that certain gifts are not superior to others, and that everyone is given some.

As a child I longed to play the piano like my best friend. My efforts were so discordant and hopeless that my teacher suggested Mother was wasting her money on lessons for me. I envied others who had a knack for sports. I was always the last one chosen for any activity. I wished above all that I could paint like one of my classmates. My attempts were futile. I was certain that God passed me by when He handed out abilities. However, no one is passed over; we are simply differently-abled. Each of us can shine his light for God’s glory in some unique ways.

Little by little I realized that I was differently-abled by God to “paint with words.”


Some paint with brush and canvas
describing beauty seen by human eyes
others paint with notes on a staff

which becomes music to delight the ear.

I paint with words.

Some paint with photo lens capturing color
or by blending nature's ingredients to produce
gourmet food for eager palates
some paint with healing hands and skills
to restore color to pallid cheeks and impart health.
I paint with words.

Some paint with hammer, nails, or mortar and cement

others paint with numbers and equations

describing, solving universal mysteries
or painting with technologies and systems

creating incredible things in cyberspace

beyond my finite comprehension.

I paint with words.

Some paint on engineering blueprints

white lines on blue backgrounds
which become impressive architectural edifices
a graphic artist paints from dreams and imagination

still life or astonishing animation

a sculptor paints with hammer and chisel in stone.
I paint with words.

Each is an artist endowed by Creator God
with a portion of His creative spirit
in stewardship as a precious gift

not intended to be a secret treasure
to hide or bury unused
but to discover and invest
and multiply

and so must I
when I paint with words.


I wrote the above poem at the beginning of 2012 and sent it to a precious Chinese Christian musician-composer friend in Hong Kong to encourage him in his music gift. James Wei-ji Huang, whom my husband and I met in Shanghai years ago, is internationally known for his Christian hymn compositions and training and conducting Christian choirs.

He surprised me to tears of joy by composing a beautiful melody as background music with a YouTube video in cadence to accompany the reading of my poem. If you would like to hear it, the link is:

Music for Mrs. Leona F. Choy’s poem composed by James Huang Wei-ji. Permission granted to James to share this poem and music internationally.

If you would like the sheet music, email me and I will paste it into an email to send you. James’ father was a pastor who was imprisoned for his faith and martyred during the Cultural Revolution in China.

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