Casting Things Asunder

Lately I’ve had a lot of practice in casting things asunder.

First I had to cast asunder my manual wheelchair, the love of my life, the piece of equipment I most relied upon – an ultralightweight titanium piece of machinery that allowed me mobility by ground and car.

This meant that I cast asunder quite a bit of my mobility. Some would say temporarily, but it hasn’t felt that way over the past months (years*). Things I took for granted, like getting in the car and going somewhere (anywhere) no longer happened without someone else’s help because the mobility devices I needed no longer fit in a (nonaccessible) car. This left me dependent on others to load a manual chair and push me (costing money if I paid) OR adding to the list of things I need help with. Doesn’t happen much.

This meant that I cast asunder most of my social life and plenty of opportunities to participate in organizations, causes, events, etc. Even getting to Mass. Not a small thing for this Catholic.

At some point I cast asunder my willingness to even talk about the entire subject. I wearied of listening to people making suggestions that I already knew I’d tried and wouldn’t work and , although well intentioned, this did not increase my mobility one iota.

What did increase my mobility was buying (financing) a very expensive power chair. What did increase my mobility was paying people to take me places or having friends who cared enough to get me out. What did increase my mobility, although not on an earthly level, was spending more time reading. I’ve made time for that because I need some way to travel.

In the midst of casting asunder all of these things, I suppose the good news is that, underneath, I’ve found myself again. As often happens when our lives change, I find myself feeling like a different person, with different needs, wants and even a different philosophy.

But I’ve cast asunder my need to minimize what this has all done to my life and what I’ve learned it does to the lives of others. I’d appreciate it so much if others would cast aside their need to do that too. I can understand it makes people uncomfortable to listen or to wrap their brains around the idea that the lack of mobility can be one equipment change away.

As I watch the candidates debate, I don’t hear anyone talking about solutions to this issue. I sit here staring at my ballot, trying to discern who should get my vote. And I must say it’s difficult right now to believe that any of those candidates know one iota of what I do on this issue. They may “feel my pain” at a town hall meeting or say they will work toward change (so the signs say), but do they? Will they?

Perhaps in order to vote I have to cast asunder these doubts. I have to remember that such things like lack of mobility are not solved in four years or maybe even eight years. Right now these issues are solved on a person to person basis, through grants and fund raising, hard work, extra hours, and exhaustion. It has little if anything to do with politics or government from what I can see, and more to do with trying to wrest a miracle out of it all, a miracle of grace and happenstance.

One thing I have not cast asunder is my faith. I still believe there is a solution for me and for many others. Where that will come from remains up in the air. I can only pray that someone will listen. One thing I won’t cast asunder is hope.

Copyright 2008 Ruth Harrigan

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