Wednesday, September 14, 2016

CRASH!

Those were the days
circa 2004

Isa. 63:9 “In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.”

Living with a disability is like a car crash. At the scene, you’re taken to the hospital and released after being checked over but sometimes you have to live with a new unexpected disability. People today take for granted waking each day and going on with their normal routine. They brew their coffee, take a shower and sit at their desk all without incident.

As I was writing this, this morning before clicking save on my document, it crashed! Microsoft is looking into the issue is what became displayed on my screen instead of the words I had just written. Gone, the document was lost never to be retrieved. That’s what happened to me when I became one of the chronic illness survivors, I lost something never to be returned.

A person with a disability does not have the same advantage as everyone else when they wake in the morning. Most wake with the routine of taking meds; coffee isn’t their first priority upon awakening. Getting out of bed without wincing in pain is a triumphant beginning of any day.

Here’s a loose synopsis of what it’s like having a disability: Imagine waking up and your computer is gone, fried, crashed. The computer was your life, your news, your accustomed way of living and your window to the outside world. You can live without the piece of equipment but now you’ll have to find ways around living without it in your life; you’d make a trip to the library until you realize it’s raining monsoon like rain so you say oh maybe tomorrow. 

Plans being thwarted become your new norm. Sure you can walk in the rain, some like walking in the rain, but the wind cutting raindrops into your skin you did not bargain for. You make plans to get around without your computer but when someone asks for an email address (asks for more info on your disability) and you say, “I don’t have a computer,” they look at you like you’re a Neanderthal.

“Do you have a smart phone?”  THEY have a smartphone. That’s like asking if your disability is the same as theirs?

“Yes, I have a phone.” Yes, I have a disability.

“Well go online from there.” 

“Um, I don’t have THAT kind of phone.” My disability is not the same as yours.

Again, the Neanderthal look that I’m getting used to seeing. I feel like they’re saying (but they’re not) “My disability is worse (better, medicated, easier) than yours.” 

I feel like saying, ‘do you take medication for your pain’ and when they respond with a loud YES, I couldn’t make it through a day without them, then I’d reply, well I don’t take meds, I live with my pain without medication. Then I’d stick out my tongue for good measure. Just kidding, I use humor to squelch most of my pain. 

Go to a doctor, get some medication, get a diagnosis. Really? So in other words, buy a new computer? Sometimes not everyone has the capability of buying a new web source. I know I have no way of buying a new body!

You’ll make plans to go to the library because you know they have a computer you can use but when you arrive the librarian announces, sorry but the internet is down for the day. That’s like affording a doctor visit only to be told the medication is an astronomical monthly, rest of your life, fee!

While the non-computer is a loose analogy and living without the computer would steer you into a new routine, that is what people with sudden chronic illnesses are forced into, a new routine that they had no plans for. Sure we’d all make different plans if we KNEW we were going to be disabled but plans are often made just to be broken. 

Maybe God is tired of the ordinary. Maybe He wants to shake up the world and see how people react, to see what kind of new familiarity we’d fall into, to see what kind of plans we’d make. Something was taken away from me and my fellow disabled friends, a normal take-for-granted-routine. 

I, and I imagine others, are no longer setting a methodical plan. We just wake and are happy to be alive. Meds or no meds, we get by another day trudging through the slime that impedes our pathway. We’re stronger and more resilient with what we generally go through on a daily basis.

So when I wake up with the intention of going outside to mow the lawn, I have to first survive getting out of bed. When I succeed I give the old fist pump and say YES! under my breath. Now, onto making a pot of coffee! Success, YES! Now onto making it into the shower without any incidences. Yes! Now the weather; is it cool enough for my back to be able to withstand an hour of mowing an enormous lawn? Yes! Will I suffer because of the challenge I overcame to get from point A to point B? I most certainly will but then I remember who is going to comfort me when the day is done. 

Pss. 72:3 “The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.”

People take for granted the waking, the making of the coffee, the hopping in the shower, simply putting their clothes on one leg or arm at a time, when for people with disabilities, it’s a chore, a long drawn out painful obstacle.

When God places a challenge in front of you ie: heart attack, breast cancer, any illness or disability, the reason I feel it is there is for you to share with others HOW you overcame the unseen hindrance. The illness isn’t for you to hide and be ashamed of, that’s not doing any service for God it’s being selfish and thinking of only you. No, God wants you to rejoice in His saving grace. Each day is a hurdle that you’ve overcome, shout to the world a resounding YES! I made it another day! 

Prov.24:10 “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.”

Some people are empty of expression and to me, that is sadder than ANYTHING God tosses at me. I can live with pain, I can live with a wobble and a cane or a wheelchair, but I cannot live without my ability to express myself to the world how I’m blessed daily with overcoming my every day challenges. I can even live without a computer, my expression might reach you a little slower but only because I would be forced to take another route in seeing you receive my message. I can't live without my body.

If you’re in a bored ho-hum daily routine, actively seek to make a change, a simple change or a major one; either way if you do nothing, God will see to it you taste, touch, feel, hear, SEE His presence; even if you don’t acknowledge that it was Him. Eventually, you will crash. What will YOU do with a mountain in YOUR way?

Jer. 16:21 “Therefore, behold, I will this once cause them to know, I will cause them to know mine hand and my might; and they shall know that my name is The LORD.”

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