Sunday, July 11, 2010

Disabilities

This isn’t a pity party, but…

 

Life is unfair.

And I tend to take that personally.

You know, if I were God, everything would be fair, right?

 

It was hard to grow up deaf.

Hard to sit on the sidelines while other kids splashed in pools, played in recess games, sang along with the radio, talked on phones, and whispered in class.

It feels personal.  You wonder why you were “picked” out of everyone in the world to be different.  Different can be painful.

 

Grade school.

Middle school.

High school.

College.

The Workforce.

 

The most amazing thing I learned?

That every.single.person has a disability.

Something that hinders them, that makes them feel like they don’t fit in, that keeps them from achieving or dreaming.  And I’m sure that doesn’t feel fair to anyone else either.

It’s a lesson I learn and relearn… that to wish I were someone else is to assume I know of their private struggles and heartbreak.

 

I was eight  years old and on my way to be prepped for surgery.  I was in a dour mood – knowing I could expect  a large half-moon of stitches to add to the scar collection, needles, pain, and the worst – my curls to be shaved off.

It was Christmastime and we were far from home.  I was tired of procedures and tests and constant appointments where everyone talked about me, but not to me.  In that mindset, I walked toward the medical office with a scowl and didn’t pay much attention to the well-dressed couple in front of me.

Which meant that as the man in the suit stopped, I was following closely enough that his umbrella caught me square in the eye.

As I howled in a stage whisper while clutching my face and shooting evil looks at the affluent couple, my mother tried to assess the damage.

I glared at the apparently well-to-do couple as the woman made her way back to me.  The man stood motionless and I was further offended that he didn’t bother to apologize or even look at me.

 

“I’m so sorry… he’s blind.”

 

It was a painful lesson about assumptions.

 

I hope to write someday about the blessings of being deaf.  That unfairness isn’t the end of it.

And I hope that when you brighten my day by stopping by, that you see someone who is very much like you (a very klutzy version of you, maybe), and that our disabilities aren’t at the forefront of our friendship.

 

See, I told you it wasn’t a pity party.  Don’t y’all want to know how being deaf led to me meeting my husband? :)

 

~~~

Have a great Sunday and remember, You Only Live Once!

23 comments:

Foursons said...

Aw Rachel, I'm sorry life handed you such a rough deal. But you know what? Everytime I see someone signing I think of you and smile. One day I will hug your neck and be honored to say we have met since I already call you friend.

BK said...

Totally agree with you. People tell me I'm crazy (in jest. I think.) and I always say "so if I'm crazy, who's normal??!!" Really though, everyone thinks there is someone else out there that is normal. Praying God can bless you through this trial...

GunDiva said...

Dying to know how you and Mr. Daddy met! I think you're right, we all have a disability of some sort. Some are just more visible than others.

Melissa said...

You are amazing you know! A well written story of your heart...I would love to know how you and Mr D met, do tell!

Jennifer said...

You know, you are so right... we have have our own disabilities and private struggles. My husband has a disability that isn't known just by looking at him and people just assume that he is like every other man his age... but he isn't. You just never know. Thank you for sharing this reminder about how hurtful assumptions are. I would love to hear how you met your husband!! :)

singedwingangel said...

Youa re so right we all have a disability. I loved this story.. wonderful reminder..

shmode said...

"Don’t y’all want to know how being deaf led to me meeting my husband?"
Seriously? You cannot possibly leave us hanging like that! And to make matters worse, I'm going on holidays tomorrow!
You are most definitely right about something in our lives holding us back, we all have it, yours is just more obvious.

S Club Mama said...

I would love to hear how you met your husband. And isn't it true that we all have some sort of disability whether it be lack of tact, lack of empathy, financial disabilities, social disabilities, or physical ones. But by God's grace we all can find comfort in our Father. :)

Kmama said...

Oh wow. This post is totally making me cry. I think we all want to yell and scream "It's not fair!" from time to time. And i know that once I do, I feel better for a few minutes, until I realize how silly it sounds, when life could be so much worse, and is so much worse for so many people.

I'm sorry sweetie! (HUGS)

deepintheheartoftexas2 said...

You handle being deaf very well. I know ppl that don't handle theirs well at all. Which makes me sad. Make the most of what you have, and live life to the fullest.

City girl turned Country Girl said...

You are so right...Being "half deaf" as child was mortifying! I always just to be be "normal" I got so sick of being "that" kid LOL!! I threw my hearing aids in the trash because I was tired of people making fun!

Now as an adult I am thankful to not hear some sounds LOL! However I am thankful for the sounds I do hear and I now know it could be so much worse!

Thanks for the reminder :)

XOXO

The Simple Life said...

You've got to tell now how you met your husband!

gimpy guide said...

Wonderfully written! I remember wanting to be other people when I was young too. To slip into their "perfect" shoes. Perhaps that is why we are encouraged to walk a mile in someone's shoes. Until we "walk past" the setting we normally see someone in, may we understand where they have been. Then, we may begin to understand what challenges or unspoken pain they live with.

♥Cari♥ said...

Thanks so much for sharing! Wonderful story :)

Beth Zimmerman said...

Oh Rachel! I do love your heart! And I can't wait to hear more of your story!

Dana-from chaos to Grace said...

You are so right, everyone has their disability. For some it's weight....for some it's stupidity. I may have a bit of both. ;)

I know this is gonna sound odd, and I really don't mean it to, please forgive me if I sound stupid....but I love that you are deaf. Yes, that is selfish, but signing to me is something so incredibly beautiful....and I'm glad that God gave you something so marvelously wonderful to see, like talking with your hands.

I totally heart you.

Aunt Crazy said...

Thanks for sharing something so close to your heart! You are so very right about each of us having some sort of disability, even if it isn't physical, we all have something about ourselves that we struggle to handle and live with.

I heart you!!!

Dyann said...

I don't know if I'm being narrow-minded or broad-minded, but when I think of you, the word 'disability' just doesn't come to mind. Lots of others do, like hysterical, happy, loving, passionate...but not 'disability.'

Does not seeing that make me disabled?

Kristi {at} Live and Love...Out Loud said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I'm so glad that I stopped by. You are truly inspirational. My father was born deaf in one ear. Despite what some people would call a "set-back", he's an extremely gifted musician. The human spirit can rise above any disability. You're living proof of it. It's so wonderful to meet you.
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I've really enjoyed visiting you here. Have a great day.

Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud
@TweetingMama

K- floortime lite mama said...

oh darling
what a breathless lovely essay

Crystal @ Semi-Crunchy Mama said...

OK, no fair! You can't just throw out that little tease of a possible story and then leave it at that! Give the people what they want -- and what we want is to hear about how you & Mr. Daddy met!

With that said...I didn't see this as a woe-is-me pity party at all. In fact, you've left me rather amazed & inspired. You may not realize it, but you did write a bit about a blessing in being deaf. Your experiences have helped you develop tolerance and understanding and compassion for others...and a wicked sense of humor, to boot!

robin said...

Loved your post...I read your blog for practically a year before I actually realized you were deaf...I love your sense of humor too! Can't wait to hear about the story about how you guys met!!

danette said...

Beautifully written...

Looking forward to reading all about how you and Mr. Daddy met :)