In life, we are taught valuable lessons. We don’t like to remember or re-live the hard lessons. We usually just like to keep the knowledge we gained from them. The truth is that we NEED those hard lessons. We need them to grow into who we are MEANT TO BE. I’ve shared some of these on some level before, but I really felt like I needed to share what I actually have learned from some of them. As much as some of these things actually hurt me in the moment, they also truly helped me grow on some level.
***To the mean girls in elementary school who told EVERYONE I wore diapers (even though it wasn’t true):
You taught me that popularity doesn’t make you a pretty person on the inside.
***To the guy I briefly dated in college who told me that he couldn’t “handle my disability”:
Thank you! Because of your own lack of understanding and lack of being able to “handle my disability”, you led me to my wonderful husband.
***To every person that has ever told me “You’re so pretty… for a girl in a wheelchair.”:
Thank you! You taught me to never judge someone only by the outside. You also taught me that there is such a thing as a a back-handed compliment.
***To the doctor that looked at me and my husband and basically told us to get a sperm donor:
Thank you! Because of your lack of compassion and thoroughness, I ended up finding incredible doctors that have done everything in their power and knowledge to treat the thyroid issue that you could have easily found, had you just taken the time to even run a simple blood panel.
***To every single stranger that has ever made a snarky comment or an unkind “joke” to me about being in a wheelchair:
Thank you for giving my friends hours of endless entertainment when I share these comments with them.
You see though, for every less than awesome experience I’ve had, I’ve also been met with just as many incredible ones as well.
***To the girl in elementary school who was brave enough to ask if she could catch what I have:
Thank you for having the courage to understand the situation before you made an assumption. That was the first time that I remember feeling like I could really possibly have a friend in my life.
***To the mom who allowed their child to ask me questions about being in a wheelchair:
Thank you for helping your child realize that there is nothing wrong with curiosity. You made my day and the world a little better by teaching your child understanding rather than fear.
***To every person that has ever taken the time to ask if I needed help instead of assuming I need help all of the time:
Thank you! You helped me identify my needs and truly find my limits and teach me that genuine compassion does exist.
***To every parent with a child with a disability that has told me that I give them hope for their child:
Thank you for helping me realize that my life is pretty great after all and that I am helping break stereotypes.
***To every friend and acquaintance that has ever chosen to look beyond my wheelchair… or to every friend that has been brave enough to ask their questions (without assumption), and taken the time to see who I really am beyond the chair:
Thank you! You have taught me to do the same about myself and discover that I have so much to offer this world.
We all have lessons in life we need to learn. Unfortunately, sometimes we have to learn them in a painful way. It’s what we do after the fact that matters. No one is perfect. We are all here on this earth to teach each other and help each other and grow. We all have gifts and value in the world. We also all have some limitations. Sometimes, it might be a physical limitation… Other times, our limitation might be our own lack of understanding of situations. While I sometimes show frustration with the comments that people make, I do realize that it comes from lack of understanding, which is why I restrain myself from meeting unkind remarks with more unkind remarks in return (most of the time). I pray that those of you with children will teach them to learn about people, instead of just letting them assume things about them or avoiding them all together. I pray that everyone will at least try to set a positive example of kindness and understanding, rather than fear and discrimination.