Friday, February 10, 2012

Disabled

Did you ever pass by a disabled person and wonder what it was like to be disabled? Or have you just not notice them? I used to wonder. As a child, my siblings and I played "handicap." It was a game where everyone would choose a handicap and then we'd play our usual games, with our handicap. Sometimes we'd play it where some of us were handicapped, and some were helpers. It gave us a lot of compassion and understanding for people with disabilities. I think we did it because my uncle was blind, and my fathers best friend had only one arm. We had people with disabilities in our lives.

Now that I am disabled, I see the realities of it that we never could understand while playing the game as children:

The fact that it never goes away. Every moment of every day, forever. As a child playing a game, there's an end. Now, it doesn't matter what I'm doing or wish to do, I still have the barriers to get around.  It's a fight to get every single thing done, every single day. There is no rest or release from it.

One of the barriers that we deal with daily is the perceptions of others. It is unfathomable how many people think that the disabled are maligners, exaggerating or making it up. People also look at me like I'm defiled, like I don't have a right to be there. They roll their eyes. They sneer. I've even been verbally attacked and physically assaulted, just because of my disability.  They exclude me because it's too inconvenient to make the accommodations that allow me to participate, and they think that its o.k. to do so. They don't believe I deserve the same rights or opportunities as other people. 

Is it o.k. to exclude me because it's hard to accommodate me? Is it o.k. to whittle down my life to the bare minimum of experiences because doing anything with me is inconvenient? Is it really o.k. to shut me up in my house while the rest of  the world goes on with their lives, without me? It's not. It's against the law. President Bush signed "The Olmsted Act," making it a crime to do so. The ADA entitles me to have equal access to everything, and mandates that I get special accommodation, as necessary, to do so. But many people's hearts are hard. Despite the laws of God and man, they don't, because it's inconvenient... 

The bottom line is:  It is more burdensome on the disabled person, than on anybody else. I've had my disability for 8 years. I didn't choose this disability. I didn't want it. It is from an evil perpetrated against me. I'm tired of feeling that people would be happier if I had died instead of surviving, because then they wouldn't be inconvenienced. I'm tired of justifications and rationalizations for self centered behavior. Suck it up, do the right thing. There will be no acceptable excuses before God.

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