Bodies fail us. They are all imperfect. Broken. Yet, somehow, the physically disabled ones experience a completely different life than those of mental or emotional disabilities. Instead of being able to hide the imperfections from the world, physically disabled bodies are evident to the eyes of all. There is no hiding.
The most heart-wrenching aspect is that kids with physical disabilities or abnormalities are not necessarily mentally disabled. They are a preteen trapped in a disfigured body. Or they are a teenager who can no longer move their mouth or limbs. Their brains work fine…excellent in fact…yet, because of their bodies, people treat them without dignity, respect, or love. They are treated different. Talked down to. Ignored. Looked past…or stared at. Yet, the person inside…the heart inside…is that of any other normal person their age.
As I sit and talk with a girl who suffers from extreme physical disability, I hear her mention how she “looks scary,” and that kids at school laugh at her. I continue to just listen as she goes from mentioning bullying to mentioning her favorite hobbies without skipping a beat. They are all words of her heart being poured out because there is a space for them in that moment. At the end of it all, she asks me if I want to hear the song that makes her feel better. Yes! Of course! I could not think of anything more fitting than sharing in that song with you. It would be an honor, actually. So there we sat. In silence next to each other, listening to the music, the lyrics, of this little girl’s heart.
There are little words to say after listening to this with her. My heart breaks for the world she is living in…and yet, at the same time, I am thankful that I was invited into that world, even if just for a moment.