Monday, December 30, 2013
Evie Can Run~A Reflection on Abilities rather than Disabilities
Have you ever seen a part of your life from an entirely different perspective than you are used to seeing it? How did it make you feel? Relieved? Guilty? Lucky?
Evie and her therapeutic horseback riding partner; I’ll call her Sarah, have been in the same “lesson” time-slot for about 2 years now. That means we’ve gotten pretty familiar with Sarah, and she and Evie have a good working relationship together. Sarah has cerebral palsy; for the most part, in the context in which we spend time with her, we only see the condition affect her walking and gait.
Earlier in this past fall season at one of the therapy sessions, I was telling Sarah’s father about an incident, and in my narration I said something to the respect of, “Evie was running…”. Sarah looked at me and said, “Evie can run?” In her voice, on her face, I recognized an unmistakable sense of shock that could only mean one thing, “All this time I thought we were the equals, but she can run, and I can’t.”
I responded the best way I knew how by saying, “She can, but that doesn’t mean she should.”
Sarah looked at her father and said, “Dad..?” and ran out of the barn, her voice trailing off with no words left to say.
Sarah envied Evie.
In a world where I have to focus on her deficits; what she CAN’T do, in order to gain access to services and therapies for Evie, I had never imagined another child wishing she could do something that Evie could. While she can’t see, can’t be understood by strangers 70% of the time when she speaks, can’t tie her shoes, can’t dress herself without some assistance, and can’t complete three unrelated activities after being directed to (these are the types of questions we have to answer in order to determine her eligibility for services)…Evie CAN run.
So, in spite of the fact that I cringe when I see Evie running, and I typically need to reach for the bottle of antacid tablets and say a quick prayer for her safety if she breaks her normal speed of 2.6 mph; Evie can do something that another child can’t. I may have “known” that in my head, but I hadn’t considered it from another child’s unique perspective; from a child who can’t run.
Every once in a while, I think we all need to look at our own deficits or burdens through the lens of someone who wishes she could do what we can do. A mom who can stay home with her kids during the day might wish she could have a reason to get out and talk to other adults at a job; while a mom who gets run ragged during the day at her job, might wish she could stay home and enjoy a day with her kids without worrying about meeting deadlines or managing disgruntled employees and clients. A person who lives in a small house with tight quarters might wish to have a larger home to spread out in, while the person who lives in the larger home is wishing to have a smaller place with less space to have to clean and maintain.
Could it be that there is always a different way of looking at our circumstances?
Would this world be a better place if we each would take a moment and consider what we have that others may only wish they had?
What is one blessing in your life that you know you often take for granted?
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