I am going to be honest with you, guys. I had another blog post idea in mind for this week. In fact, I’ve been thinking about the post for nearly a week now, so it’s definitely something I want to discuss. But, something came up. Some other idea announced itself like a megaphone. It was clear my original post idea for the week needed to be put on a hold.
Now, you find me here. Something happened to me today that I didn’t think would rub me as much as it did. Something deeply pained me more than I was willing to let on. I have previously talked about my life with cerebral palsy in various posts and faucets. As I look back on one of my posts about life with cerebral palsy, I ran across a line I wrote that said, “I let go of the rude comments people made to me in middle school.”
Reading that line today stung a little bit and not for the reasons one may think. Indeed, I have let go of the comments people made to me in middle school. As I’ve lived more life and more days with my disability, I’ve learned that what was said to me in middle school was coming from people who were in the same boat as me at the time—just trying to figure out hormones and who they were.
But, that line stung a little bit because it made me realize that comments about my disabilities were not, in fact, going to stop in middle school. They just weren’t. In fact, I dealt with a comment today. And it hurt. It hurt a lot more than I thought it would. This person asked me if I would be normal after having physical therapy. In response, I said, I would let the comment go.
Nevertheless, it’s been much harder to let go of what it stands for and what it reminds me of. It is my reminder that I will constantly be around people who do not understand or have any idea what it is like to be disabled. I will constantly be around people who do not know how to behave around those who are different than them. This does not end in middle school. In fact, it only continues and gets worse.
I can vividly recall three instances in my adult life when someone blatantly made a comment about my disability without second-guessing. I can vividly recall how I felt in each of those moments. I can vividly recall how angry and hurt I felt. I can vividly recall wanting to explain myself or say something but not knowing how.
Today, one of those instances occurred.
And it hurt.
It hurt deeply.
It did not hurt because I was ashamed of my disability. It hurt because it was evident this person viewed me as something other than “normal” or capable because of it.
I am still trying to process it all now. Even if I don’t have all my thoughts together, it’s worth discussing.
Truthfully, I find my heart breaking not only for myself but also the people who have ever made a comment or glanced at me awkwardly because of my disability. I find my heart breaking for these people because they are missing out on so much.
They are missing out on getting to know me on a heart level. They are missing out on the beauty of Jesus’ grace. I can let go of hurtful comments because I know who I am in Christ. I can let go of snide remarks because I embrace my disability.
But, it is extremely hard for me to know there are people who have such a skewed view of people and this world. It is extremely hard for me not to spend hours wondering who or what may have led these people to believe it is acceptable to see others only for their impairments and nothing more.
So, I am in a bit of a tough place right now. These comments don’t happen often, or at least to my knowledge, but the sting gets worse each time. But, not for me. No, it gets worse for the people who fail to see me beyond my disability.
If you’ve ever had a comment made to you because of your disability, just know you are not alone. Also, know that those comments do not define you, nor does your disability. It may be part of your story and God’s plan for your life, but it does not define you.
May we all find the courage to see others for their heart and not their outward appearance or impairments.