It bothers me when someone says they don’t “see my wheelchair” or my disability. Being born with spina bifida and being a full-time wheelchair user has shaped me; it’s a part of my reality I want others to see!
Along with the wheelchair, they will see a young woman whose father’s death due to complications of multiple sclerosis has driven her to continue his work of advocating for people with disabilities. They will see a disability theologian and pastor who would not have been open to the work of the Holy Spirit in her life without friends who said, “The church needs to hear your voice.”
The message that comes across is that others believe I hate my disability, so I must want it to be forgotten about so I can be viewed as a whole person.
All people with disabilities are “whole.” Our realities don’t match up with the world’s ridiculous standards of perfection. And that’s okay. I know so many people with disabilities who could live into the fullness of who God created them to be if the “-abled” world would open up a little more.
This message is excerpted from “When people say ‘I don’t see your wheelchair’” by Lisa Heffernan from the October 17, 2022, blog of the Women of the ELCA.
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