REJECTION, EXCLUSION AND BEING DEVALUED As a blind person since birth, I have experienced more than my share of rejection and exclusion mostly due to fear on the part of those who choose to reject or exclude me. I have been expected to do somewhere between disappearing or staying on the fringes of whatever is going on. I have wanted to be in the thick of things, but sometimes I am too shy to do so. I know some blind people, (my first husband included) who tend to be obnoxiously loud about things but I understand now that they, too, want to be included and not rejected and that is their way of accomplishing it. Sometimes it works; sometimes it backfires. Sometimes I feel sad that I allow timidity to let me miss out on full participation in activities with others. I accomplish much more by myself than some such persons would ever realize. But it can be lonely. (Too bad one of my cats isn’t a service cat and could accompany me everywhere so I would not be alone.) But now–you guessed it! I am *not alone!*. I have Jesus! Though I have, at times, rejected Him and certainly relegated Him to the fringes of my life, He chose not to reject me and to include me in a loving relationship. I need not fear that He will reject me or exclude me–ever. Jesus experienced the worst kind of rejection for us. He certainly understands how we feel when we are rejected, excluded and/or devalued. I am quite often not the person someone comes to for something, though I might be just the right one. It is assumed that I am not intelligent enough, or physically capable enough for this or that, which is often not the case. And Jesus is often the last one we come to, though He needs to be the first. He could easily be asking me “why didn’t you ask me? Why didn’t you come to me for help with that?” When I think about how much I have, in my lifetime, rejected Jesus, excluded Him from the everyday aspects of my life, and underestimated His willingness and ability to be of help, I feel sad. Sometimes He has to wait a long time for some of us to come to Him. In fact, in my case, I did not come to Him, He rescued me–He included me! He does not reject me. He does not exclude me. He values my thinking and doing as much as He does anyone else. I have been waiting and waiting for humans to “get it”, in fact, when I was young, I expected that by the time I grew up, humanity would “get it” about people with disabilities. not so. Just last week our chapter of the National Federation of the Blind met at my apartment clubhouse for our monthly meeting. My apartment manager was horrified to discover that we were all blind. She insisted that we have at least one sighted person with us, for safety reasons. She wanted the two guide dogs present not to be there because of fleas. She wanted to reject us, and exclude us, and underestimate our capabilities. Thankfully, with prayer and a few words from a blind attorney, this problem is now history. Jesus was there at this meeting. He knew how we felt. He knew how my manager felt in her abject fear of blindness. He helped us go right on with our meeting, food, laughter, and all. He gave me a kind of assurance that everything would be okay, that He was working on it. It could have been pretty scary and formidable to experience all of that without Jesus. I was so thankful He was there with us. Sometimes we reject ourselves, which certainly can interfere with our relationship with Jesus. We can even sabotage our own success; our own relationship with Jesus. He knows what is going on and will help us with these issues, especially when we–yep–ask Him to. I feel assured that in Heaven I will never be left out! I will never be considered as “less than”. I will be with Jesus just as wonderfully as the next dude. (or dudette). Because this is true for me, it can be true for you, too. In Jesus’ name.

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