|Jonathan & Andy|
Today I want to complete my Wisdom on Wheels series. I hope and trust that each of these blog posts has been a blessing to you and has helped you to better understand what it might be like to be in my shoes. I hope that it gives you new ideas and insight on how to be a blessing to those in the disabled community, and perhaps just as important how we can be a blessing to you.
Today’s topic is perhaps the most “personal” posts of this series. It involves the issue of personal care. I know from many past interactions with children that one of their favorite questions is “How do you sleep at night?” It is a simple question with an equally simple answer “like everyone else.”
The fact of the matter is though, this question and its answer do have some detailed ramifications. Even though I do sleep in a bed like everyone else, I require the assistance of others to help me do this. While I have for the most part come to accept my disability as a part of God’s plan for me, this is probably the most difficult part of my day to day living.
It took me quite a while to realize that asking for help was an essential ingredient in any success I might hope to gain in this life. Once I discovered this, whole new worlds were opened up to me. I was able to go new places, meet new people, and experience things that I would not have otherwise been able to do.
Allow me to share with you a couple of examples from my past. In the summer of 2004 I had the privilege (as I did four other summers as well) of working at Brook Cherith camp. I was super excited as it was my third year in my responsibilities and time spent there were expanding. I was so excited to get back and be with my friends and see what God would do. To my utter dismay and frustration, three days before I was to leave, my electric wheelchair broke down.
Now here I was going to work at a camp where I was supposed to provide help and support to my fellow staff and my campers and I couldn't even get myself from place to place. The first week and a half was particularly frustrating as I tried to get my wheelchair working properly. But God was teaching me to be humble enough to be served was as important as my service. To top it off, I met some of my favorite camp friends that year. Cassie and Annie particularly stick out. They were grateful to have the opportunity to serve me and looking back I don’t think we would have developed our relationships as we did if I did not require the extra help.
Another more recent example is that I was able to participate in Master Arts Theatre’s Christmas production of “It’s A Wonderful Life” last year because I was willing to ask for (and received) excellent help from my cast mates. I particularly want to thank Jonathan and Andy for their hard work on my behalf. It was most appreciated, and it will not be forgotten. I have a far greater friendship with and appreciation for these men then I would have if we had not worked together!
I fully realize that my disability carries with it issues and difficulties which many of you may never face, but I also have come to realize that I have some advantages over many people. First of all, because of my physical problems it is harder for me to deny that I need help. Secondly, my need gives me the opportunity to become close to some amazing people and to bless them as they bless me. I’m so thankful for the many people that God has seen fit to place in my life. He most certainly knows what he’s doing.
In closing, I want to address something that is very important to me. I know there are some people who would be uncomfortable with assisting me with my personal needs and I want to tell you that that is 100% OK. However, from the bottom of my heart let me tell you that it would sadden me greatly if your fear of my disability was keeping you from reaching out. I want you to know two things:
1) Asking for help is not always the most comfortable thing for me either
2) I will never be offended by someone admitting their discomfort with my disability, but I would hope that you would be willing to let me know what is bothering you so that we can work through it together. I truly think that we will each be better people for it.
I ask that you would pray for me that God would continue to send people into my life who would be willing to look past my wheelchair and see the man that he is molding. I pray this particularly in my quest for a life partner although it applies to my friendships as well.
I hope this has given you some things to think about and that it has been a blessing to you and to others you come in contact with. May God richly bless you!