Saturday, February 20, 2010

Are We the Disabled?

Not too long ago I sang in front of a crowd of mostly 'disabled' people. I had never had this much exposure all at once to the people of society we have labeled 'abnormal' or with 'disabilities'. The question was brought to my attention, "what is a disability?" "what is normal?" Originally when mankind was created we had no defect. I cannot even imagine what the garden of Eden looked like. Everything was untainted, fresh, alive... until free choice got the best of us. I think we're all familiar with the falling of Adam and Eve. They chose to disobey.

The fact that we continue to choose things that are not good for us, and love 'darkness rather than light'... is that not the true defect? The fact that we can hold grudges, say hurtful things about those we love, or gossip about those we don't know, is that not the defect? Why do we find it so hard to let go of wrongs done to us and forgive? Why are we so inclined to think of ourselves first, and how we will benefit from a situation before we agree to do something? Do we treat others differently depending on how important we think they are? Do we label people, build prejudices because we don't make efforts to get to know them?

Are we really the normal , 'logical' ones, if we cannot even recognize the disabilities in our own lives?

I haven't worked with disabled people a whole lot... (my sister has on various mission trips) but one thing that continues to surface is the idea that the ones we call 'disabled' are the first people who are the last to judge, and the first to love. They live the most innocent lives, oblivious to many of the problems you and I face simply because they see the world through different eyes. Many of them cannot comprehend jealousy, pride, hatred- and so by default they infact are the "perfect" ones, so to speak. From what I've experienced, its the disabled people that have been able to appreciate the simple things, and have a knack for pointing out beauty in places I never knew existed.

For those who are not mentally disabled, but rather physically, its incredible to hear their stories of perserverance, and their patience with the rest of the world as they fight to exist in a place where they are always feeling they cannot keep up. Their perspective and wisdom is truly humbling.

I'm sure I would learn more by spending time with the disabled, but from a small glimpse... I've been challenged greatly. I pray that God would be so gracious to me as to give me the thing they have, that i perhaps lack- the heart of a child that is constantly filled with wonder of the world around us, and that loves without restraint.

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