Of course there are people who take advantage of the systems which are in place for them, and they make life difficult for all of us. Those who refuse to get a job; those who could walk if they’d just stand up; those who claim to be disabled when they aren’t so they can receive benefits; those who steal from others; those who cling to someone who is already married, causing a breakup; those who attend church just to look good, those who get stuck on substances, stealing to afford the habit–but we’re not all that way. I have been told on occasion, in a tone of disgust and disdain:”it’s your fault that the economy is bad; you live off of money that should be ours.” What a lack of understanding and acceptance they show. Little do they realize that many of us have been successful in our day. I worked several jobs, I raised a family, I earned a higher degree, I am the author of three books by next year. I do not tell you that to boast, but merely to state the facts about my life. We’re considered to be a black rose:structured okay but tarnished.
Some people do not realize that it is respectable to be blind. Several throughout my life have protested “Oh no it isn’t!” I believe it is respectable to be sighted, but not to have the curable disability of considering themselves superior in any way; assuming they do not have a crutch of any kind, and considering themselves more valuable, more perfect, than those of us with disabilities. With all the things that are problematic with me, there are people living here who are more disabled than I am–the woman who constantly complains about how her son brought her here; those who let their pets do their thing in the hallway; those who wait around for the next breakthrough that isn’t going to happen because they don’t put out any effort; and, most of all, those who do not follow Jesus even when they know about Him. Jesus is not a respecter of persons in the sense that our shape, color, age, etc, do not make a difference to Him. He values each one of us.
When I was in the hospital two weeks ago there was a patient who yelled out often, in pain. Evidently pain medication didn’t work for him. But then there was Jeffrey, who yellled out constantly just for attention whenever anyone left his room.
There was an older person there who was going blind and she never got out of bed. And then there was me, who filed a complaint last year when the staff wouldn’t let me get up by myself; go to the restroom by myself, etc. So it is not as important what issues we have but what we think and do about them. I was fortunate from childhood that I was motivated to be doing something, sometimes even when I was ill. I never once went to my parents whining “I’m bored!” because I wasn’t. When we went on long trips, I loved the ride. It never occurred to me to ask “are we there yet?” In fact, there was some disappointment when the trip was through. I brought things to do in the car and never said I didn’t know what to do nexxt.
Currently, my doctors really want me to be pretty much bedridden in a hospital bed, to get the edema out of my legs. I could give up and just lie around, but no. I am working on how to get a table to be high enough so that it comes over my bed so that I can continue working on my laptop. I can certainly continue using my phones. I can pray, read, crochet, pet the kitties, sing, listen to music and sermons, on and on. I could even practice my music. I even took a bag of stuff to do while I was in the hospital. Medical staff had to occasionally interrupt me in what I was busy doing.
No, I will never be in the Guinness Book of Records
for anything I’ve done or am still doing, and, sadly, I will not accomplish all that I had hoped to in this life, but I am living my life–sometimes living the life I want.
Some people get perturbed with me if I light a fire under some entity for treating me with low expectations by refusing to allow me to do something. However, I never wanted to be the second-class citizen that some have assumed me to be.
And, no, I am not amazing. I am quite ordinary, having done ordinary life things. I do not use blindness as an excuse. The medical conditions do sometimes require me not to do something, but rarely does the blindness. I’ve met many ordinary blind people in the National Federation of the Blind, all over the country who are, as we are saying now working to “live the life we want,” rather than the short-sheeted life some expect that we live.
During those eight months I was recently living in California, some people kept trying to force me to do less; insulted my intelligence and integrity, and no way had any idea who I really was. It was frustrating and sad. I could see no light at the end of the tunnel there so I moved back up here where things are better for me. There are people here who see me as a good example; who are pleased to find me not sitting in the corner sucking my thumb, saying “poor me.” Some of them are proud of me. Some of them come to me because they want to talk things out and they know I will listen to them. It is like a whole ‘nother world. Right now, the past few days, several women here have left their tables to sit with me because they don’t want to sit with someone who is constantly complaining and criticizing them. This is certainly in high contrast to the situation in Sacramento. And I really do not mean to bad mouth Sacramento, I am just telling it like it was there. My time down there was a good one for me to realize that Jesus does not treat me that way and I began to really appreciate that. My kitties have never treated me negatively like that either. Jesus never said “let her have her year,” as my advisor did, when I first enroled in college. He already knew I would graduate with honors. Jesus never has told me I could not do something; He already knew what I would do.
Sometimes, out of fear or tiredness, or when I just don’t feel like constantly pushing the envelope or banging my head against a wall of marshmallows, I do let some people hold me back, but Jesus never does. Sometimes I wait for someone to encourage me, as I like to encourage others, and sometimes it never happens. When I think of mistreatment I have known in my life, what a contrast it is to being treated only with gentleness and kindness from Jesus. Sometimes I need a little prodding and encouragement, but never does it result in abuse. And one more thing:Jesus loves those who short-change themselves, who are lazy, who use crutches that they don’t really need, and who really do drain on the economy, so we can follow His example, by doing the same.
1 John 4:10 – Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.
Mark 12:31 – And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.