All he did was asked questions over an article.
His eyes got as big as saucers as I explained the medical journey behind the 1,800 word synopsis being offered to a publication company. One explanation led to another… And another… And another. The questions were painfully typical and mundane. I felt as if I was answering the curious questioner in my sleep. My writing had led me towards this type of impromptu interview before.
But then, he said it:
“Wow. I guess you’re really not that frightening at all. Listening to your story, hearing you explain it, everything that made you super uncomfortable (to be around) makes so much more sense. I never would have guessed… Like, geez, you’re great.”
He smiled the smile of a man who wanted to be applauded for a gracious compliment. I smiled a smile that threatened to whisper, “Because I love Jesus, I won’t break your nose when I punch you.” I’m 26-years-old and people’s fears over my disabilities still make me crumble to the ground in tears. Being afraid of my disabilities is understandable.
But if you suffer silently through those fears, all you’re saying is that you’re afraid of me.
I can’t say I’m much better than this poor man who has become a victim of my sarcasm. I giggle at the differences within the disabled community because, even though I may feel uncomfortable at times, I feel accepted. But don’t you dare ask me to be open in other areas.
My biggest fear and struggle is learning how to talk to an addict like an equal. They’re my equal? Wait… You mean they can hold a conversation?
This isn’t a discussion about right or wrong, normal or abnormal. Our society has become such a culture of hiding behind assumptions we have become our fears.
My young friend saw my differences the moment he met me a year ago. He was too afraid to ask.
I have reasons to be afraid anytime I’m around a person who abuses drugs. I’ve been at the mercy of certain addicts’ evils before. But believe it or not, when you can get them talking, they simply want to be seen and reminded of their value. I often forget that because I can be too afraid to write an exception to my self-righteous rule.
I learned a long time ago that God never told me my comfort was His first concern. His command is to love those around me no matter the cost.
If I live in fear of the unknowns, I’ll never experience the joy of living fully by loving those I don’t understand.