Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I cannot remember the exact wording, but I remember the message of it all. My school's newspaper had a special for the month: a Post Secret-like center spread where cryptic messages were to be displayed in an artful way. Most of them were rather silly- the one I included was. But there was one that hit me, if only because I could immediately guess who it was. It expressed a wish that the writer, who was in a wheelchair, would be treated and seen as normal despite it.

There's a girl with some health problems I cannot even begin to guess at who attends my school. As far as I can tell, they are not fatal or dangerous, or at least not immediately so, but they have left her with some sort of speech impediment and in a wheelchair. It would be easy to mistake her for someone of a lesser level of cognitive function.

But she's not. If you pay attention, she is able to do anything a "normal" person could do, think whatever a "normal" person could think and understand. Yet through my own misconceptions I can surmise that she is surely misjudged and treated in the easy, intellectually-devoid way that those with impaired intelligence require. How it must sting; how it must demean!... My shame is easily all the school's shame.

When I see her in the halls, I make an effort to smile her way, just in case she needs it.


Marvin the Martian said...

How wonderful you are, to do that! So many people never take the time to look past the disability to see the person, a person who often has the same intellectual and emotional capacity as any person.

God's love is shining through you.

VainApocalypse said...

Such acute empathic insight is something we all ought have. Your recognition and redress of this misassessment is inspiring to me. Thank you for sharing it.