Breached Defenses

I don’t believe that I have shared this before on this blog but I have a disability and need to use a range of mobility equipment, depending on which item is suitable for any one chosen activity on a particular day.
Recently my husband and I were setting off for a day to visit a small seaside town with a friend who had visited previously and knew the place relatively well.
We hoped to explore some of the town centre shops but also, our friend had explained that there was an accessible coastal path that involved a very steep incline but, literally at the end of the climb there was a beautiful view, a charming coffee shop and some beautiful, in fact award winning gardens.
To be honest, I was sold on the charming coffee shop!
Our next step was to choose which equipment to take with us and my mobility trike, which is capable of managing an incline and a serious distance and which can carry my walker on the back of my seat, was chosen over my scooter (short distances on the smooth, level ground of a shopping mall) and my wheelchair (think poor hubby pushing uphill and barred by narrow doorways).
We arrived and parked in good time and set off, following the coastal path with the sun shining, a gentle breeze blowing and the anticipation of a treat at the journeys end. We weren’t disappointed and after much oohing at the spring border displays and full of coffee and carrot cake, we turned back and headed for the shopping area of the town. Thus far then, this was a delightful day.
On entering the town, I could see that it was charming, olde-worlde and unpedestrianised with narrow, hilly and bumpy pathways. We had chosen a midweek, school day which leant the socio-demographics towards the older generation and there were a plethora of multi-coloured walking aids in view. My heart sank as the unavoidable truth hit home; I was going to be in the way!
Pulling my trike as tight into the shop wall as possible, I chose to wait outside for hubby and our friend as my limitations mean that using my walker is time limited and best kept for those shops that scream out my name rather than just call to me. It didn’t take long to regret this decision.
An elderly gentleman, himself needing to use a walker, slowed and with some effort, managed to negotiate the narrow pavement around me. As looked into his face to apologise for the inconvenience, he screwed up his features into a glare and veritably hissed at me, “Could you possibly use anything bigger?”
Oh, the impact of that verbal sucker punch!
I felt embarrassment, shame and my face burning within a milli-second! I opened my mouth to reply but for once I was speechless and he seemed able to walk away far quicker that he had approached.
Was he threatening, abusive or using foul language? No, but he hit every one of my rejection markers, knocking them down flat in a single efficient strike!
I felt so rejected; abnormal, surplus to requirements, misunderstood, and, as so often, simply in the way.
As I blinked back the tears that were threatening to betray my humiliation and vulnerability, thoughts of how the ‘old me’ would have reacted rose up and I realised that the elderly gentleman’s departing speed would have been inadequate to escape a loud and vitriolic piece of my mind!
Being selfless (read prideful); I smiled at my companions as they exited this shop and ‘cheerfully’ followed them onto the next stop. Again I parked outside but now there was a painful burr right under my saddle.
All I could see in my mind’s eye was a replay of the old man’s face and all I could hear was the ‘real truth’ of the words he had so publicly spat at me and this scenario was permanently stuck on repeat!
I began to think about all the things that I should have, could have said to him! I let my mind drift and presumed that he had only just started needing a mobility aid and what, if anything would he understand about disability from a younger age! Did I know anything about this man’s truth? Heck no, but the judgements I was birthing were springing forth at warp speed!
And then Holy Spirit gave me a nudge;
Book of Acts Chapter 8 Verses 23.NIV
For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.
This was as effective as the sharp brakes on my trike and pulled me up short! What was I doing and where was I going with this? I needed to forgive and let this go right now!
A different mind-set also brought home to me that this incident had actually done me a favour. It had highlighted to me all the lies that had seeped past my defences over time and the thoughts that I had not taken captive but had instead allowed to settle into the psyche of my identity. I had allowed these lies to become my truth.
I knew where the lies had come from so who was I going to look to for the Truth? Whose ‘truth’ was I going to believe?
My Lord and Saviour is Jesus Christ so what did He have to say about my worth?
He said that I AM WORTH DYING FOR!
Amen.

One thought on “Breached Defenses

  1. I know you you are my precious friend heartbroken to hear this happenened to you but as always humbled by your response – proud of you woman of God xx

    Like

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