Some years ago, when I still referred to men as boys and women as girls, a friend of a friend was involved in an horrific accident. Flung from his car, his spine was smashed against a raised drain, leaving him paralyzed from the neck down. Following the accident, the tea makers and scone bakers came in droves all declaring, “How lucky he is. He’s alive. It’s a miracle.” Miracle? I didn’t think so.
A miracle was if a Maia had swooshed in on a horse named Shadowfax and grabbed his body seconds before the crushing blow. A miracle was if he could still move his limbs. A miracle was, perhaps, if the accident hadn’t happened at all. He was only seventeen. Just a young boy fated to the life of a quadriplegic, incontinent (until he received a leg bag connected to a urinary catheter) invalid, with the immune system of an infant. How was that a miracle? How was that being alive?
Years passed, boys became guys, girls were still girls and I moved away. I heard that the boy had travelled to India to undergo a mystical massage treatment to reverse the paralysis. It was about the same time that I read about Hellen Keller who was born blind and deaf, yet against all odds she became a famous author, activist and lecturer. Reading her inspiring story is when I received my own miracle, the eureka moment I was too ignorant to see. I realized that to my selfish eyes, they were disabled, to others afflicted in body or mind, they were a beacon of hope, of life.
It took Helen Keller for me to realize that a disability was not an impediment to a full life. Now that men are men and women are women, I realize that in my narrow minded short sightedness, I was the disabled one.
My friend of a friend is still looking for his miracle. I’m hoping some day he’ll find it in Science.
[custom_author=Deed Craig King]