“Do you ever wish you didn’t have your disease/disability?”

When I was in pre-k, I started praying for just one thing — healing. I knew doctors couldn’t “fix” me, but I believed that God could. At 24 years old, I’m glad He didn’t give me what I wanted in that season of life. Why? In this season of life, which has been filled with bump after bump in the road, I see how He’s using this defect as a teaching tool. He’s not only teaching medical professionals about my defect, but He’s also teaching me how to live with my syndrome.

I’ve recently learned quite a bit about what “normal” actually looks like. We sometimes assume life without a defect/disability is normal, but according to a CDC report from 2018, 1 in 4 adults in America live with a disability. (That number doesn’t even include people with non-disabling diseases.) Living with a disease/disability isn’t quite as rare as we assume it is.

When people assume life with a disease/disability is abnormal, they often consequentially assume someone with a defect/disability longs for a “normal” life. But what is “normal,” really? We all face unique obstacles, but we all have one obstacle in common: our body — our aches, pains, and physical struggles. If we want to paint a picture of a “normal” life, then we probably ought to include disability in that picture. It’s pretty normal.

So yes — in certain seasons I have wished I didn’t have my disease. However, during most of those seasons, people have made me feel like an abnormality that should long to be fixed. If you learn anything from this post, I hope it’s this: our assumptions are intertwined with our actions. If we assume disability is abnormal and undesirable, our actions will reflect that assumption. We will alienate or tear down those who we view as abnormally disabled. Instead, let’s try to show some empathy and invite everyone to sit at our table. Let’s make plenty of room, accommodate to each person’s needs, and listen to one another’s story.

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