Sunday, January 6, 2013

What a Shame?

I had an interesting experience recently that I have been tossing around in my head...

An elderly lady who didn't know me nor Evie had introduced herself to us when we met her in a public setting.  She then looked at me and leaned in..."What's wrong with her eyes?" she asked me under her breath.

I said, "Oh, she's legally blind, but you can't really tell, can you?"  I smiled. 

The woman gave that type of scowl or pursed lips you see when someone eats a lemon.  "What a shame..." she said.

Instantly, that struck a chord with me...a chord of discontent.  (The first thing I wanted to say was, "Well, she might be blind, but she can still hear!!!)  I replied, "Well, don't let Evie know that, she's doesn't realize she's at a disadvantage.  She misses out on nothing in life, and is one of the happiest children you'd ever meet." 

The woman looked at me, a little stunned.  She said, "Well, good."  But, then the shadow fell over her face again.  "Just,"  she continued, "well, I guess they must have gotten to her eyes too late.  Not able to do anything for her?" 

I took a breath...this Debbie Downer was starting to grate on me.  "Actually she had 3 surgeries in her first year of life.  The glaucoma won in her left eye eventually, but her other eye is working hard for her.  She walks with a cane and is learning braille.  If you saw her on a playground, you'd never know she was blind." 

I had to get away from this conversation, I was about ready to ask the lady how she made it through life this long (she herself was walking with a cane to keep herself upright)~how can you make it that long if you believe any obstacle that falls in your path is a "shame?"

Here's the definition of Shame from

1. the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.
2. susceptibility to this feeling: to be without shame. 
3. disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents. 
4. a fact or circumstance bringing disgrace or regret: The bankruptcy of the business was a shame. It was a shame you couldn't come with us.
NONE, and I mean NONE of these definitions even remotely describes Evie's life, disposition, abilities, motives, or heart and soul.  Furthermore, none of God's creation is a "shame".  We are not mistakes.  We are not "whoopses" in God's art studio.  Each one of us was knit together in the womb by a God who created such intricacies as DNA, RNA, mitochondria, cytoplasm, and gamines; we still have NO idea how all of this replication and duplication comes to pass in such a way that any of us even makes it into this world as "normal." 
I don't mind when someone asks about her eyes, or her syndrome; how she manages, how WE manage...that's great!  Ask away!  Learn, understand, be inspired, be impressed, be blown away...but don't feel pity.  Don't take a 1 minute glimpse at us and think you know us at all.  I should have asked her if she wanted a run down of everywhere we went last summer.  I should have asked for her address so I could send her a Christmas card.  I should have ACTUALLY made the business cards that I always had thought about making with the mission of the IWSA on one side and the synopsis of WAGR on the other.  Instead, I took a breath and got out of there.  After all, we had too many fun things to do with the remainder of the day than to let that woman look upon us with pity and tsk, tsk about the shame of it all.
For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11


  1. As usual, a great post!!!!

  2. Tammie,

    Such a well written post. I feel bad that Evie had to experience such a negative person. Did she ask you about the woman's comment? I believe that we are the lucky ones. People don't understand how rewarded we are to be a special child's mother. It changes everything in our life, mostly our relationship with God. We are the lucky ones and there is no shame in any disability.





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