If I were to review my blogs, I’d probably find that I’ve spent a good amount of time saying how disability is good for me. I remember talking about being out of one’s comfort zone as a positive. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that blindness has made me a better listener, even as I sometimes strain to hear in noisy situations. I’ve pointed out the pluses in being in a minority group insofar as it can foster empathy and purpose and action. Truth is that I really believe it all. In my case disability has been redemptive.
Until last night’s conversation with my son, I’d thought about blogging about the flip side of disability, the falls I take, the bruises I self-inflict. I’ve taken to wearing a visor around the house so that the brim hits the tabletop or open door before my face does. I’ve tried to find cushiony knee pads to protect my knees not only from falls, but from bumps into the piano bench or other annoying obstacle.
But last night our son talked about his work in corporate America, and I realized again the degree of stress involved. I heard myself saying that 60-hour plus weeks constitute too much stress. But his response was that getting too comfortable would make him “lose his edge.” And that clicked with me. Challenges keep us mentally sharp, and so again, I slip into the optimist about the overall good of my situation. My minister last Sunday spoke of our suffering mattering—that our stress and our difficulties, we hope, should be meaningful.
And that’s where my personal experience doesn’t translate to so so much of the suffering in the world, past and present.