Don’t wait until you’re disabled to

Thanks to Dave Hingsburger for the thoughts that led to today’s post.

Don’t wait until you can’t walk –

to become aware that there are people out there – ordinary people – who, for whatever reason, need a little more space to get through an aisle, to park their car so they can get out, to clear a path for a chair or a scooter or a stroller.

Don’t wait until your son or daughter brings home a love of a different ethnicity –

to get over your automatic ‘other’ thoughts about anyone who doesn’t look exactly like you do.

Don’t wait until you are in a hospital bed –

to learn to speak up to medical personnel, firmly advocating for compassion and respect along with their service.

Don’t wait until your grandchild is diagnosed as autistic, or a favorite niece has a child with Down Syndrome –

to change how you feel about and interact with people with intellectual disabilities and learn to speak with them and listen actively.

Don’t wait until your spouse is asking for a divorce –

to stop doing the little things you know perfectly well are selfish.

Don’t wait until someone has given up the struggle –

to say, “Oh, well – if he’d only asked me for help.”

Don’t wait until you’re in a foxhole, being shot at –

to remember your faith in God and ask for help.

And don’t wait until someone is gone –

to regret all the things you never said or did with them: tell them today that you love them.

When you NEED the world to be filled with the kind of people who will give you space in a theater, or not glare at you when you park in the handicapped parking spot (but don’t have an OBVIOUS physical disability because what you have is something like CFS or COPD or anyone of a million other invisible disabilities which don’t ‘show’ but completely sap your energy), or understand when your little boy has a public meltdown, or remember to check your mom in the nursing home so she doesn’t get bedsores, or give you a little more time to fill out the paperwork, or realize you need to sit down NOW because your legs won’t hold you –

then it will be too late to create that world.

Time passes, and every day you get plenty of opportunities to become the person you know perfectly well you should be working on being.

Fear is the root of all of these: fear that these ‘things’ will happen to you, that they are contagious. Face being afraid: some of these things WILL happen to you – if not today, then certainly before you die.

Becoming truly human is not for sissies. You are not a sissy. Get on with it.

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