I just read my daughter's RSD Blog, and although I had spoken to her about the 4th of July barbeque right after it was held at her Tel-Aviv apartment, and knew what had ensued, I was very moved by what she wrote about it, and decided to post it in it's entirety here. This is my daughter, in a wheelchair for a year with a so-far incurable nerve disease called RSD/CRPS (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome), whose life changed in an instant due to a relatively minor car accident from "normal," to disabled, at the age of twenty-three.
Please visit her blog, My Personal Battle with RSD. Here is her 4th of July post.
Perfection, Bliss, and a `whole’ lot of Soul…This past 4th of July, I bore witness to the most beautiful and pure thing anyone could ever possibly view.Some people might say that that is a bit extreme of a statement. These people are right.Imagine seeing a scene where there is no anger, no hate, no resentment, no awkwardness, no pity, no judgment, no prejudice, and simply no negative emotions, thoughts or feelings of any kind. That in itself seems a bit extreme. But I prefer to call it… “bliss”.`Bliss’ is what I experienced this 4th of July. I hosted a big BBQ, at my humble home. I have a big yard, why not make good use of it. I invited a few of my closest friends, and a few of my good friends, and a few of their good friends and so on... After that I invited from members and volunteers from “The Center for Independent Living”, the Non-Profit Organization where I volunteer.The Center for Independent Living works to promote handicaps rights, equality for the disabled, and laws requiring accessibility in all public places. It is a place that teaches persons with disabilities (whether they are from birth, or accident, or developed, etc…) how to not only support themselves but to be self sufficient and eventually to be able to support others even. It is a place that does everything it can to help everyone who asks for it to reach their full potential in whatever field it is they want, and need. But mostly it is a place for anyone who has ever been “handicapped” for any reason, to come and find a community, a social world that never judges them, a family.The BBQ was a hit! Everyone had a good time, even me (the crazy stressed out host)! Everyone danced, and ate, and drank, and laughed, and talked, and made new friends. Everyone simply celebrated life, and living it alongside wonderful people.And than it happened. That moment. That experience. That bliss…Around half way through the party, I wheeled myself a few `steps’ back and simply watched. This is what I saw:I saw people in wheelchairs, dancing with people on their feet and people on their feet with the help of crutches. I saw deaf people conversing in sign language and body language with people who had never had a hearing problem in their life. I saw friends of friends who I had hardly ever met deep in thought while listening to the life story of someone born disabled. I saw my best friend “sword-fighting” a women who cannot walk without crutches (and can hardly walk with them) with her own set of crutches and she could hardly catch her breath of laughter. I saw a dear friend also born with a severe physical handicap stand for nearly three hours straight at the grill laughing with everyone and drinking a beer while making sure everyone gets to eat the great food.Enough, details. I saw a perfect world.Well a very, very small model of what it would be. Only innocence, love, compassion, and caring. A world without, hate, or disgust, or any prejudice. A society without class, without stereotypes or stigmas. A world where literally everyone is happy. Everyone is just as special and important as the person sitting beside them.We, accidentally, created something absolutely perfect. And it was easy too. It was natural, as if that was the way life should be lived.I am currently the only member or volunteer at the center with CRPS. No one knew what it was or had ever heard of it. But no one judged me either. In fact from my first day I was even told that I don’t need to tell anyone anything about my condition, or story, or anything that I don’t want to. That promise was kept. I have never been judged there by anyone to this day, and I know that I never will be.What has being in a wheelchair and 4th if July taught me...?Well for one, it has taught me how strong gravity REALLY is.But mostly, it has taught me that there may just be more good in this world than I ever thought existed. It has taught me that being complete is not about being physically or mentally `whole’, but rather that being complete is about your soul (or spirit or energy or whatever name you chose to call it, but basically meaning you). What your soul tells you, and if you are going to do something about it.My wheelchair has taught me to stop every day, close my eyes, look deep into my soul and say to myself “what can I try to do today to help make this world a better place”. And then… Well..., then I go out and try to do it.