This Saturday on Facebook, I wrote that I had a great weekend; however, that is a little less than true. I was reminded this weekend of how painful it is to not be seen as a gifted woman of God. This is a problem that I’ve had all my life because most people see my disability and stop there. Some people must believe that I think with my feet, and therefore, since my feet don’t work, neither does my brain! There is nothing that I can do to change their minds.
At a conference this weekend, I was prepared to discuss a writing project and figure out some different options for my piece with a peer mentor that was provided to me by the conference coordinators. When I rode into the room on my scooter, I was all prepared to show her samples of my writing as well as a chapter in my book that a friend of mine had helped me to write. This woman, however, did not even look at one piece of my writing for more than a couple of seconds. There was a gap between us that I could not bridge, and I don’t think that she wanted to.
Besides not being heard by her, it triggered years and years of the hurt caused by similar experiences as a person with a disability. In the past I have hid and held onto the pain caused by these types of insults by just smiling and pushing through it. I have been learning now that it is ok to be mad and have been working through the grief of not being seen or understood for who I am. Holding onto that pain is very hazardous to my mental health. Until I’ve forgiven those people, I could easily assume that everyone sees me the way that actually just a few people do.
I realize though, that I see people and jump to conclusions as well. I put them in a box as well! When I pass a street person and don’t stop to engage them in conversation, I am doing the same thing that people do to me. What is it that makes us do that? Is it a fear or is it a lack of vulnerability in ourselves? How do we break down those barriers between us? We can only break the barriers between us when we allow God to heal our own wounds.