My very first experience of sharing space with a person with a disability was when I was 15 and I served a cater for the local Goodwill Industries annual picnic. I recall the fear that was so present in me. I often think about this experience as the seeds that were scattered upon my life purpose of working with people with disabilities. Adding in having a child with a disability and I am certain that these beautiful people eating fried chicken were divinely appointed to be part of my journey.
It is not often, if ever, that I find myself with fear when I am with people with disabilities. In fact, it is more often that I am more comfortable and much more present.
My last Yoga class at the brain injury clinic I found myself experiencing fear. The emotion caught me off guard as I spent a few minutes alone with a young man no older than my son. He was unable to speak and was clearly agitated as the sounds that he was making were sounds of someone wanting desperately to communicate. He needed something and I was unable to determine just exactly what he needed. I found myself in fear. I wanted to leave the room rather than face this young man.
While driving home I was saddened at my reaction to this young man and saddened at the frustrated he was experiencing at the moment when we were alone in the eating area. I wondered if many people were afraid of him, or was it my own insecurities.
Upon more reflection of this experience, I am grateful. I am grateful for the memories that it brought forth in me to look back at where I once was and also to look within at what still remains as opportunity to grow.