I was home early for once and my wife and I were chatting over the past weeks events. Christmas shopping done....she did it! The door bell rings...somebody selling something....again!
It seems we are one of the targeted neighborhoods for solicitation...we can see them coming! This time was a bit different. The gentleman introduced himself and off into his programed spiel.....my wife stood up on her way to the door, to rescue me, to say....bye. He sees her coming and cuts to the chase and says....I represent the wheelchair basket ball league.
We both looked at each other and laugh. He looked like he was at gun point. He was bewildered and very quiet for the first time since introducing himself. Then he said very seriously did I say or do something wrong? NO...I played on the Grand Rapids Pacers wheel chair basketball team in the 70's.
He gave me a good look and said, "you don't look disabled". My wife....always ready....says...."oh he is it just isn't noticeable"! They laughed.
I dislocated my leg at the knee racing motorcycles many years ago. Being athletic and the league struggling I was allowed to play based on limited function guidelines. I played one season. I made some great friends and learned some very valuable lessons about people with disabilities. They may not walk, they may not have legs or all the formed part but they are competitive, they are smart, they are determined.
Many times the public has a stigma attached to people that are disabled. They park in the handi-cap parking spaces at the mall. They have their own entrances, even ramps. If you had to do a day of their life you might find you would never park in a handi-cap parking spot again to run in for something quick. The handi-capped or disabled...which is definitely the wrong word! Are more determined than any able bodied person. They have to be. Just opening up doors with hand crutches or wheel chairs is a daily occurrence...some have mechanical help.
I was reminded of those days when the gentleman who was selling discount coupon books to raise money for the program said the name of the organization. I owe them a lot for helping me recognize the reality of who they really are and why I appreciate their struggle. We bought the books....guess what some of our friends are getting for Christmas!
They don't have the attitude, they live with our attitudes every day. They know who they are! Give them a hand it is only for a moment...their struggle is a lifetime.
Just a smile and opening the door will be welcomed gift, do it all year long. Have a Great Holiday Season.