Lydia had a very full day today. This morning, she went to Baden Public School to meet with her new principal, and vice principal. She let out a whoop of delight, as we rounded the bend in Livingston Blvd, and she could see the school. How she longs to return to school! She received a welcome back card, signed by many grade eight students, which she enjoyed reading today.
Later today, she had an appointment with the Wheel chair seating clinic at KidsAbility to finalize the details for ordering her own wheel chair. We are currently renting one, and while she is making great strides in walking, (pun intended!), she will need a chair of her own for distance mobility for some time yet. She was measured up and sized for a chair that will be made specifically for her.
Lydia understands the need for the wheel chair, but, she struggles with it. She does not want to appear different. She sometimes asks that we not park in the reserved handicap parking spaces. She does not want to be pitied. She asked that we not take her chair to WeDay, yesterday, but realized the need for it, as the short walk to our car, with a sore knee, was painful. Once in the car, she asked that her chair be taken along to WeDay. One day a while ago, she uttered a heartbreaking statement: "I guess I'll have to get new friends - ones with disabilities like me."
We deduce from these reactions, that Lydia views people with disabilities as segregated, different, not normal. Does this perception stem from some of her experiences, or from her notions about individuals with disabilities from before?
Since Lydia's entrance into the world of the differently abled, our perception has changed too. We have seen such a vibrant faith in Lydia, and a beautiful tenderness and sensitivity. She walks more intimately with Jesus now than before.
James 2:5 speaks to us: Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world, to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
So maybe our able bodied culture views those with disabilities as poor, in the eyes of the world. But we have seen richness that is great. We have a friend with CP, and he knows what it is like to live with disabilities, and yet, he has a heart and spirit that are incredibly connected to God.
Lord, may we know your love, and hold your view of all your children - abled and differently abled.