I Am Handicapped   5 comments

This is the internationally recognized symbol ...Our accident brought some of my handicaps into the spotlight.  First of all, I am not a multitasker in any sense of the word.  I do very well concentrating on one task, but if a second is added, one of them will get seriously neglected.  Furthermore, I get trapped in the mazes of my own brain.  If I am reflecting deeply (which is mostly the only kind I do), I better be engaged in a physical task that can be accomplished on auto-pilot.  My problem is not drinking and driving, but  thinking and driving.  I’m being quite serious.

I can’t turn off my brain unless the activity I am involved in requires my complete mental attention (such as taking a test).  I have often come close to stuttering to the roadside on empty because I can only force myself to think, “Stop for gas!” for about 30 seconds before I am off in some other world.  On the way to the lake last week, my wife suddenly asked me if I had taken the right exit… I couldn’t remember.

I guess this has been a problem for some time, since Kimberly tells me that when we first met, I drove straight through a red light without realizing it… I don’t remember.  The one area where it has come out most prominently in my driving is failing to notice things ahead that require me to slow down or stop.  I do fairly well on my own, though it regularly calls for an uncomfortably quick stop, but when I get further engrossed by conversing with Kimberly, I am downright dangerous.  Many times Kimberly has had to warn me of things up ahead which I am approaching too quickly.

The accident forced me to realize that it is not enough for me to try harder to concentrate on driving, but I really have to take a serious action step.  I haven’t talked to Kimberly about it yet, but I think when we are driving in traffic together, she needs to be behind the wheel.  I usually drive because she prefers not to.  Also, as I told her on the way back from our accident, “I’m only 50, but I’m going to have to start driving like a geezer.”

A second serious handicap of mine is that I don’t notice the need for a change (in practical matters) unless I am forced to see it.  I will be semi-conscious of a problem, but will keep performing the same old routines without ever consciously making a decision to do so.  It niggles somewhere on the outskirts of my mind, and may take a very long time, sometimes too long, to burrow up to the level of conscious deliberation.  I “should” have realized this driving issue as a real problem and looked for a solution long ago.  We knew it was a problem, but it never occurred to me to make a significant change… I just kept trying to do better using the failing system.

I’m not beating up on myself.  I put “should” in quotation marks because I don’t really think it was negligence on my part; it is part of who I am.  We all have handicaps, and we do well to recognize them.  God not only gave us all strengths, but he deliberately created us with weaknesses as well.  I think this was his way of making us interdependent, of tying us together in community.  Our weaknesses are not “bad” things, they are just part of who we are and who we will always be.  I may be able to improve or compensate for my weaknesses, but if I try to quash them or force them into conformity, I am being false to the way God created me.  I have believed this very late in life and have suffered a great deal for not recognizing it earlier, but that must wait for another post.  As L’Arche says, the world is not divided into those with handicaps and those without; we are all disabled and badly in need of the gifts of others.

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Posted July 13, 2011 by janathangrace in Uncategorized

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5 responses to “I Am Handicapped

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  1. Openly admitting weaknesses has cost me jobs, caused me to lose friends and family who appear were not really there for me in the first place. Have tried to then compensate for these weaknesses, skirt around them to help myself out, pretend they didn’t exist, or attempt to measure up, or worked harder to meet the “standard,” but none of this made a difference. Instead I am good at seeing the same weaknesses in others but I am miffed how these either don’t trip them up as they have me, or do they end up with the same losses that I have had because of them. Guess a couple of my biggest handicaps is comparing myself to others and trusting or relying in and on the wrong people.

    Remember myself as a child who wached and witnessed her father, an angry, arrogant, prideful, wealthy genious who loved to debate often with his close friend, a judge, and my father would give his brief and then head off on so many tangents either on the positive side as an advocate for change, or negative side defending the status quo that I would get lost in what he was saying. (I also never measured up for, to this man that I know of though he must of loved me to raise me). Because of his handicap of being “trapped in the mazes of his own brain” during his debates, he would then forget where he had begun, or had trouble remembering the focus of his brief, but always seemed to get right back on track and finish with his rebuttal and resolution. What he accomplished would pump up his ego and pride in himself. I am just as my father except I don’t have any friends presently that are judges, or am I arrogant, prideful, or wealthy..

    Because of having trouble accepting my own weaknesses do not know how to know for certain that I am loved in spite of these, or know that it really matters when I know I have changed.

    I am listening and learning from the greatest community I have found and belong to the body of Jesus Christ.

  2. Yes, it can be very hurtful to share our weaknesses with those who are not compassionate about our struggles, and the way we were raised heavily affects the way we see ourselves, others, and God. Unlike you, I have discovered many Christians are unsafe to share with. I’m glad you have found a supportive community.

  3. I appreciate your insights, thank you. I didn’t mean to imply that everyone in the Christian community is safe to share with and this too will not stop me from finding the one’s that are.

  4. Love this post. It is so full of light and peace. I love that you are looking at your weaknesses with a quiet, sweet, gentle love; that you are accepting them as gifts! You have talked and thought about this so often for years. This post is an active entering into grace and redemption. So many ideas sound wonderful but then it is hard to live them in the rough and tumble of actual life. This is a living grace – one that sheds the light of grace into the hearts of others. Not that you see your weaknesses, nor that you recognize the need for change. No, the grace is in the beautiful. quiet acceptance of yourself as a vessel of grace. You are falling into grace, letting go and resting, in this moment, in grace.

  5. Pingback: Response to Elisabeth Part 1: Becoming Myself « Janathan Grace Reflections

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