I haven’t always been so vocal about my disabilities. Most of my childhood friends didn’t even know that deep down inside my heart I carried around some pretty heavy stuff. I never talked about the eye accident that stole my eye and I didn’t tell them I couldn’t always hear what was going on around me. I didn’t want them to feel sorry for me, but more than that I had some emotional baggage I just couldn’t understand. As I said last week in my very first post…I faked a LOT. My parents didn’t even know that sometimes I cried myself to sleep at night.
Losing my left eye as a child in a backyard accident wasn’t the worst thing that could happen to me. I can still see. I still have one good eye. I’m not blind, for crying out loud! So why did I carry around that awful shame for so long…
…because life can be cruel sometimes and people can be mean. Don’t misunderstand me. My parents never made me feel as if my disabilities would hinder me from success in life. There have been many deaf and blind people who have led very influential lives, inspiring others to have a vision and pursue their dreams. They’ve learned to live life to the fullest within the boundaries of their disabilities, but I’m neither completely deaf nor blind. My disabilities aren’t obvious. As several friends have told me over the years, “Nina, no one thinks of you as being disabled because you don’t act like someone who is.” That’s a grace~bit. Only God can do that.
How do you make others understand what it’s like to live in a hearing~seeing world when you don’t hear and see like everybody else without sounding like a whiner or a complainer? I’m not a “woe~is~me” kinda person, but if I want to get the most out of life I have to be real…I have to be honest…I have to be vocal about the fact that there are certain things I need from others…like, “Look at me when you talk, please” or “Would you mind repeating that?” or “Don’t approach me on my left side because I won’t see you or hear you.”
I don’t want to be labeled. I want to be accepted. I want to be included. I want to sit at a table and take part in conversation. I want to be in a roomful of people without feeling like I’m on the outside~looking~in. I want the checker at the grocery store or the teller at the bank to speak to me with clarity and patience. If I want these things, I have to be honest about what I need. I don’t want to feel like I’m a “bother” or a “nuisance,” but let’s face it, if you want to be friends with someone like me it’s gonna take a bit of work on your part.
I wish I’d had more backbone, more fire, more confidence when I was younger. Instead, I put a wall around my heart on the day some young, cruel boys made sport of me by calling me, “False-eyed,” at the community swimming pool. I can still hear their laughter ringing in my ears. I can still remember the shame I felt because I was physically imperfect. I formed a different opinion of myself that day and it’s not a pretty picture. I saw myself as a freak. It would take years before I let God heal my wounded, broken heart. I am not what the world says I am. I am a daughter of the King. I’m a princess. And princesses wear beautiful clothes and costly jewels and crowns on their heads. But the most important thing about being God’s child is the way He changes me…the way I see myself and the way I see others. He makes me beautiful on the inside. Now that’s a pretty picture!
Clueless. That’s what some people are. They don’t have a clue. And I’ve dealt with a lot of clueless people in my life so I’ve taken it upon myself to educate them. I’m just warning you. This blog isn’t so much about education, though, as it is about sharing life. We all need to know that someone “gets it,” someone understands, someone else has been there.
The definition of clueless is “having no knowledge or understanding.” The Nina definition, though, is “having no idea what’s going on!” Like the man who said to me once upon a time, “God can restore your hearing.” Well, yeah….I know that, but He hasn’t so I replied, “Yes, He can, but God said No to me.” To which he stepped back with a look of utter disbelief and said, “Ma’am, God never says No to anybody!” Oka-a-a-a-a-y……(picture me saying that in my best singsongy voice.)
I know God answers prayers. He’s answered many of mine over the years. Sometimes He answers yes, but sometimes He answers no because we bring Him more glory in the No’s. I quoted in my first post a passage of Scripture from 1 Corinthians 12. Paul actually says that he pleaded 3 times for God to take away his thorn, but God said, “My grace is sufficient for you.” In other words, God didn’t take Paul’s thorn away even though Paul begged him over and over again. God wanted Paul to depend upon His grace every day for the rest of his life. Paul did that so beautifully, don’t you think? If I could only live life half as gracefully as he did…sigh.
One of things I’ve learned over the years is that I don’t have to be clueless. I have God’s Word. I have His sustaining grace and I have Jesus to show me how to grace those who have no idea what it’s like to wear a prosthetic eye and hearing aids. Jesus loved on a whole lot of clueless people while He lived and walked among us. He was misunderstood. He was labeled. He was wounded by the words and actions of those He came to seek and save. And He knows how it feels to hear God say No. Remember the Garden? He prayed to His father to take away the cup, but Jesus had one thing on His mind….to bring His Father glory by giving His life for you…for me…for the clueless.
Jesus is still lovin’ on a whole lot of clueless people today and I’ve been one of them so……I just want to ask, what are you gonna do with God’s No’s?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a clue…I’m just gonna trust God to grace me.