Have you ever seen a person board a plane, with the group reserved for “people with medical conditions” not in a wheelchair, or otherwise visually impaired?
Have you ever seen a person “cut” in line, in front of you, for no apparent reason?
Well, if you answered “Yes”, to any of these questions; it is possible that you may have seen me; and you can thank your lucky stars, that you are fortunate enough, to not need to utilize these luxuries. Remember, that someday, that may change.
I never dreamed that I would fall prey to a compromised body; I ALWAYS took the stairs, I ALWAYS parked way out in the boonies, and I NEVER minded waiting in line. I have met some fascinating people while waiting in line, and I miss the added exercise, that I used to build into my every day.
I rarely park in a handicap spot, even now, as I feel there is always someone worse off than me, but sometimes, when I am feeling extra fatigued, or having a hard time breathing, or the nerves on the bottom of my feet are screaming, I assess my situation, and give in to the “luxury” of taking fewer steps, to accomplish my task.
After standing in many lines at airports, and getting woozy, to the point of near fainting, I have finally resolved myself to boarding early, with the other “medically challenged” people; usually in wheelchairs. People often stare, and I can only imagine what they are thinking, but while I may be one of the first people on the plane, I am always the last one off!
Flying kicks my butt and it takes my legs, almost all of the way to baggage claim to “wake up!” I call them jelly legs, and I am as slow as a snail getting up the gangplank; those people that are quickly disembarking, might have a different opinion of me, if they saw me getting “off” the plane.
(This is what my legs look like from too much standing or walking)
On long journeys, I have even been known to request wheelchair assistance. Do you have any idea, how difficult, and disappointing, this is? Yet, I have to remind myself that I have a limited amount of stamina and energy, and I need to choose wisely, how I use it.
And if it weren’t for handicap lines at attractions, museums, and monuments, I would never be able to continue to dream; to dream of going to new lands, to dream of experiencing new things, and to dream of fulfilling my wanderlust spirit.
And if you lose the ability to dream, what would be the point of living?
So the next time you wonder why a person “seems” to be getting “special attention,” know that it comes with a price; a price that may not be apparent to the naked eye. Know that many people “look fine” on the outside; but without X-Ray vision, you have no idea what is going on, on the inside. Know that it is not easy to ask for help, because asking for help tends to make us feel weak. And know that your stares and snickers do nothing more, than to make an already struggling person, feel even worse on the inside, than they already do.
Try not to judge, when you do not have all of the facts, and try and give that person a reassuring smile; it may just make their day!
Wouldn’t you rather be the type of person that brings joy to others, than the type of person that only feels good, when looking down upon another?
Next time you see a person receiving “special privileges,”instead of judging them, have compassion; you never know when you make be walking in their shoes.