I AM NOT DEFINED BY MY DISABILITY… I arrive early for my lesson. I watch the other riders hop out of their cars as my mom lowers my wheelchair to the ground and brings it over to my door. I’m used to my chair by now. I’m grateful. Dad says I have a bit of my mom’s spirit in me. I hope so! He says when something difficult happens, which is most days for me, I have the tendency to ‘girl up and soldier on’. Thanks Dad.
Know what though? I know that inside this body that struggles so hard to do the things most eleven year old girls do without thinking is well…me. The real me. The me that smiles, a lot! The me that has delights in the people God has made, that marvels at creation and laughs, a lot! Oh, I know that most people who meet me for the first time see only the disability. Only the ‘cannots’, the ‘withouts’ or the ‘may nevers’. But just you wait, once we meet and really connect, they’ll see the real me. And I bet we’ll be friends.
At Alatheia things are different. When I get out of the car and into my chair at the riding center you know what I don’t see? I don’t see adults staring at my chair and quietly shushing their children’s questions. I don’t see discomfort and wondering. I don’t see disability at all. I see friends. I see people who really see me. I see other riders who struggle with very different, but just as difficult, disabilities who are A. Maze. Ing. I see who they really are inside. And I always greet them with a big smile. Because at Alatheia I am seen for who I really am…I know I am not defined by my disability.
Spina Bifida with lower leg paralysis/wheelchair bound, neurogenic bowel bladder.