Someone once said that the most disabled and unfortunate disabled person is a person who isn’t stubborn. I giggled at that because I’ve never lived a day where my rebellious, stubborn, don’t-ever-tell-me-I-can’t attitude comes out.
Stubbornness is a blessing brought in from being given limitations I don’t want to accept. There are things I’ve resigned myself to accepting I can’t do- but that’s not until I’ve fought tooth and nail to prove that I really can’t. Even then, I’ll let myself daydream about the ability to climb, swim or ride a bike. Cuz someday… even if I’m 85, I will.
That’s stubbornness. It’s a blessing from God because, most likely, that’s the only characteristic that got me through the worst spiritually, emotionally and physically.
It is not, however, independence. Somehow, I forgot that fact.
I’ve learned to be really flippant about my limitations. All of them, whether epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy or Tzeitze Syndrome, are met with a sardonic laugh, an eye roll mixed in with a little fearful prayer. But all most of the world sees is my flippancy. All they hear are my jokes.
Few understand that I hide in my flippant laughter about terrifying instances because I sincerely don’t want to lean on my loved ones when my heart is breaking from fear and my body is temporarily throwing in the towel.
I call it stubbornness to get a chuckle out of my frustrated loved ones. I don’t think that’s what God calls it. Is it possible my “to-heck-with-it-all” independence is seen as sin?
When all else fades, I had to learn this week that my flippant, one-line answers and pathetic jokes were simply an attempt to make sure I didn’t have to depend on anyone who says they love me. Oh the arrogance. Oh… the fear. Gosh darn it, oh the audacity to think I am the only one that doesn’t get to experience Godly community.
Stubbornness got me this far. Independence may kill me. Trying to rip independence from a person with noticeable limitations is hard. But as I pondered that fact, I heard God chuckle:
Since when was independence Biblical? Since when did your limitations make idolizing your pride okay? Why do you keep thinking I put you in relationship to break you? Could you even dare to believe I’m teaching you to lean on others to teach you about Myself?