Make a list of ten of your passions. Pick one and write about why that topic/subject is your passion. We want to know the nitty gritty whys and hows. Maybe your love for war reenactments stems from your father taking you to battlefields and forts when you were younger or perhaps your pottery obsession is from a desire to understand the verse, “You are the potter and I am the clay...” Whatever your passion, for whatever reason you pursue it, we want to hear about it.
If you've been a reader here for long, you probably could name ten of my passions. LOL! Just in case you can't, here we go:
1. PINK (seriously, anything the color pink has me at hello)
4. my amazing hubs and daughter
5. fibromyalgia/chronic illness/invisible illness/disability
6. Gilmore Girls
7. women in ministry
8. gluten free
I had already planned to write a post today about passion #5 - fibromyalgia/chronic illness/invisible illness/disability and then when I read the assignment for the Better Writer challenge, I realized that my planned post totally fit the bill.
I read this blog post a few weeks ago and knew I wanted to respond. I just wasn't sure exactly what my response was going to look like. For those who don't want to read the entire blog post I cited above, in short, a woman with a chronic invisible illness was going into a store and used the handicap accessible door. A woman in a wheelchair about ten feet away went off on her and yelled that she wasn't handicapped and couldn't use that *&%^ing door. The first woman approached the second and informed her that she did have a disability, however, it is an invisible one. She proceeded to tell her that she was allowed to use whichever door she wanted and that she was not in the way or stopping this other woman from using that door. The second woman continued screaming profanity and pitching a fit as the first woman walked away. The blog post continues as she reflects on the need to support each other and stand up for each other whether our disease is invisible or not.
I have to admit, if this had happened to me, my temper would probably have gotten the better of me and I probably would have said some things I shouldn't have. And then my mind jumps to those times when I've seen someone park in a handicap parking space and then jump right out of the car and run in the store. In those moments, I have instantly made the assumption that they aren't handicapped and how dare they park in those spaces. The truth is, I am in the wrong in those moments. I don't know if they are handicapped or not. Who am I to judge?
As my fibromyalgia has gotten worse and has gone from true invisibility to a bit more visible as I use my cane or wheelchair, I have begun to experience a new type of invisibility. Shopping using a scooter (the only way I can shop) is one of the most miserable errands I have to do. Why? Because most people pay no attention to what is going on around them. I have been run into by shopping carts more times than I can count. Many times the aisles are so narrow, it is like running a gauntlet to try to get through. Those scooters have a horrific turning radius so when I go to turn down the next aisle, invariably I am run into head on by a cart or suddenly I am in someone's way. 9 times out of 10, by the time we are finished in the store, I am so angry that I want to yell at someone or so emotionally beaten that I am in tears.
All of these events and reflections lead me to some questions. When did it become acceptable not to have common courtesy for each other? And why do many with visible illnesses or those with no illnesses think it's ok to bash (verbally, emotionally, and sometimes physically) those with invisible illnesses? How can we change this? How can we encourage and respect and support each other? How can we have compassion for each other? How can we make a difference today?