Friday, September 5, 2014

Running through a meadow.

When I was very young my mom would ask me to name three things I'd like to have happen if a genie or a magical gold fish granted me three wishes. She'd be very surprised if I threw in "walking" as the third one, not a top priority. "You just wasted a wish"- she'd tell me, when I finally did "because that would have been one of mine". I guess that story kind of summarizes how I saw the need for "walking" over the years. I saw the convenience of getting around with ease of course, it'd allow me to be more like others, to stand out less, to not need special accommodations and solutions just for me.  Others probably wanted it more for me that I ever wanted it for myself. Of course, I saw the value of what it could give me, but by itself it really had not much value as a goal. I never had a dream of running in the meadows only to wake up to the harsh reality. I don't know what it's like to long for it or to miss it and it's mostly the outside world that has been projecting onto me their own interpretations of what I think about think and feel about. A few things made me think about what "walking" is to us in a second consecutive article. I have a friend who's looking at the gloomy perspective of becoming permanently disabled, losing control of one of his feet. To me, the most important part is how he emerges out of the process- if  the worst happens and there's nothing he can do to prevent it. That whatever the news is, he knows that he still have a life, hope, passions, ideas and work. I fear that that scary perspective might be blocking him, shutting him off from the world only making things worse. I also know that it's not something you can rationalize or tell him what to feel. You can't shake somebody to simply get over a thing that's so tragic- its their own process that needs to take its own course in its own time. I also realized that I can't really relate very well to what he is going through as this is one of the aspects of disability that I have ever experienced. As an intelligent human being I can of course try to grasp it, as I understand pain, loss and suffering and I can liken it to things I felt and been through before, and I can empathize with another human experience, but it's not the same as knowing. I felt he needed someone who understands what it must be like better, so I asked one of my board members who after a botched, life threatening brain surgery became severely limited and yet got on with his life to reach out to him. And then I was left questioning the "value of walking" yet again. Is not being able to walk what my friend is afraid of or what it means to his life? Is he afraid of changing or adapting to new ways of getting around, or is it aesthetic? Will he feel less then if he won't be able to do the things he was able to before with ease. Will he be able to carry on with his life or will this one limb, body part just take over every aspect of his existence. How is it that the things we took for granted become major missing parts when we can't do it anymore? I hope, if the bad news comes, that he doesn't go through life romanticizing what he has lost. That he doesn't dream of running through a meadow although he never needed to run a meadow before, he doesn't focus on the things he feels were taken away from him. That, disability or not -that he sees himself as capable as he always was.

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