A long time reader, who had never met me, drew me aside at Saturday’s Victorian Tea to enquire about the wheelchair under me. Seeing a bangaged ankle, she thought it was a temporary injury that might keep me from the exploits I write about frequently. When I explained that the bandage was a chronic wound, but the chair and walker were the result of hip disintegration from over 20 years of steroids to control my Systemic Lupus, she was dumbfounded. “How do you do all those things when you are disabled?” she asked. My first thought was ‘It ain’t easy!’
In my mind I see a stately tree with one bad limb, but good roots and still growing; scarred bark, but able to offer shade and bear the fruit of kindness. Oh, don’t think for a minute that my friends don’t hear me complain. I can whine with the best of them, true to my Zodiac sign, the Crab. In the end though, I wouldn’t trade the cross I’ve been given. Would any one of us? There are people in this world truly suffering physical, mental and emotional horrors. There are those who are dependent on others or machines for everything up to the very air they breathe. Thank God I am not among them; I can only pray for an end to their plight. I have dear friends suffering through cancer, it’s treatments or other debilitating diseases. There is so much suffering. Perhaps that’s why I try to concentrate on the good news, on ability rather than disability; on what I have rather than what I lack.
Yes, I’m a gimp in a chair and it’s hard sometimes being on my own. You don’t realize how difficult everyday tasks are for the disabled until you roll a mile in their wheels. The important thing is that the wheels don’t define me. The stubborness I inherited from my Dad’s side often pushes me too far off the safe path, but I’ll keep rolling along until that doesn’t work…and then I’ll find another way to do the things I was meant to. We all have a purpose in life; you just have to find it!
The first time I watched a Challenger Baseball game there were about 50 kids of every age. The League has expanded to include many adults who have needed care all their lives. To see the absolute joy with which they live each day given to them is a humbling experience. The challenges faced by these handicapable people make me feel so blessed for the state of my own body, mind and spirit.
Yes, I am unable to do many things I would love to do again, or still, but I don’t grieve over their loss. I’ll never take that dream trip to England, Scotland and Ireland and I won’t be walking around the track at our Relay For Life. On my “bucket list” there are many things I’ll never be able to do or afford but here’s the good news.
I can share hugs (very well, if I may say so). I can smile. I can motivate others by getting them to see that all things are possible with faith. I was gifted with a talent for words that allows me to spread the good news about good people and the joy of life. I am blessed with friends who love me despite my moodiness and constant pleas for help with some cause or another. I was blessed with life today. To me, that means using my abilities to help and share in the circle of life. When I have spent my last day on this earth, I hope it will have counted for something on the plus side of my heavenly ledger.
Disabled? Only in technical terms. No matter where you are along life’s path, you have something to give. As long as I have the ability to give, I am whole. I am blessed.