No one quite knows how to react to my injury. And you can’t blame them. I mean… I don’t even know how to react to being paralyzed, and I’ve had 6 years to process it. There tends to be a few general, yet vastly different reactions though.
Firstly, there are the random strangers who come up to you in public. Be it an attempt to encourage or simply seriously unhealthy levels of curiosity, their approach remains the same. What starts with floods of, “what happened to your legs?”, “are you going to make a full recovery?”, “at least you still have your eye-sight”, “don’t worry, you’ll be fine”, usually ends with me awkwardly rolling away.
Then there’s the little kids. I don’t mind them staring. After all… my wheels are pretty cool! And most of the time, I find their reactions quite endearing. I love how open honest and open they are. However, I am at a loss when they start asking questions, because how can I move my leg and not walk? How does it feel to be paralyzed?
On the other side of the spectrum, there are the ones who act like they don’t see it. The ones I can be around for months and they won’t ever ask why I am in a wheelchair. The ones who will glance at my spasming hands and become obviously uncomfortable. And I understand because it’s strange. I understand because it’s unknown. It’s muscles contracting without me telling them to.
The reaction that gets to me is when someone assumes I am being ‘punished’ by God, or that if I just had faith I would be healed by now. Don’t get me wrong… I believe God can heal me, and already has a great deal. Of course He can perform miracles. Of course I want that, but… I would rather have a miraculous faith that keeps believing He is good… even if ‘good’ means not allowing what I want.
My absolute favorite is when people see my injury for what it is, and yet are not put off by it. They are the ones that endure it with me. The ones who show that together we can work past limitations. They are the ones that can see the humor amidst the tragedy. The ones who become part of my life, and lets me into their’s. The ones who are not afraid to learn with me. The ones who know that… this injury is not who I am, but it does shape a lot of my life. I am so thankful for these ones <3
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