I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t like classifying people by their abilities or disabilities.
Let me explain, I have a disability. I am legally blind. Really I think “disability” is a crappy word. Not able, that’s what it means but hello I am fully able, my eyes aren’t. No matter the issue, the person that carries it 1.) most likely has a heart 10x bigger than the average person, and 2.) are well aware of their limits and your expectations of them.
There is a whole world of “my people” amongst the “regular people.” But my vision does not make me another species. It doesn’t make me less of anything. The only limits I see to it are the limits I put on it.
I live in your world and though I see it differently than you do, it’s my world too. Sure, I fight some different battles than you do, but I also fight some of the same ones you do. I think if we are honest everyone has something they battle that is seen or unseen.
When Noah was younger he struggled with school. His battle was relatively unseen unless you spend study/school time with him. The poor kid just could not seem to fully connect everything he was taking in. His brain was unable to process and store like all the other kids. We played games, sang songs, wrote notes, cried…oh Lord how we both cried…we did the hard work. Eventually it all connected and I don’t know… Moses parted the Red Sea and my Noah could spell, God’s just that good!
Noah wasn’t stupid. I’m not just blind. It’s part of our story but it’s not the whole story. When I close my eyes and pray I look exactly like you when you close your eyes to pray. At the most basic level we are the same.
And guys, the stares don’t help. The whispers are actually much louder than you think. And the jokes…just stop. They really aren’t that funny or original.
If a disability stops you then let compassion move you. I promise, you won’t catch my blind cooties…not anymore, at least.
I suggest rather than seeing a disability we look for the person. Look beyond the wheelchair, look past the cane, embrace the different because when we see the different we see the lovely.