I'm taking part in a Disability Writing Emporium this weekend sponsored by Two Thirds of the Planet, a new-ish website that takes into account that two-thirds of the planet (see what they did there?) has a connection to disability.
This month has been difficult because I've started writing something that I thought would be a memoir when it grows up. I started writing about how living with disabilities has touched my life. I've talked about the physical impact. I've talked about the emotional impact. I haven't thought of how it affected me spiritually. I'd like to share with you all my thinking.
When I was young and saw people who were "more disabled" than I was, I remember thinking that God must have a reason for making me the way I am. He must have a purpose for my life that made me special. (I'm using the masculine pronoun simply because I'm thinking of it the way I did then.) I continued that line of thinking for a long time--until I was diagnosed with depression.
Depression was the disability that played havoc with my life. Depression was the issue that made me forget everything I ever knew or believed about God and spirituality. Not only did I not believe that God had a purpose for my life that made me special, I thought my life was so worthless that I tried to throw it away. More than once. I tried to give the gift of my life back to God and say, "Here, God, I don't want it anymore."
I have to look back at the past twenty years and all the losses that depression and disability brought me and ask myself if living was actually worth it. I still struggle on bad days, and on those bad days, the mental pain is worse than the physical pain I live with. I can live with aches and pains and stiffness and headaches and dizziness. I'm still learning that when I am tired of living with all these things, my life still counts for something.
Each day is there for me to learn something new. God never promised me that my life would be everything I wanted. I'm still here for a reason, and I hold on to that on bad days.
My spirituality is different from it was when I was young. I know that many of the things I learned aren't as black and white as I once believed. God is bigger than so many of the things I have lived.
I'm putting the pieces of life together one day at a time.