I was taken by surprise when I pushed Faith into the dentist office the other afternoon. The waiting room was packed with nowhere to sit. As I looked around the room, I saw that those waiting to be seen had some sort of disability and were all accompanied by a caretaker.
I noticed the familiar face of an older girl with cerebral palsy whom I had seen at Medcenter once or twice. An attractive lady in business attire sat next to a man who waited in silence holding a little tiny beach ball in his hands. There was another older man with Down Syndrome. The only way he could talk was by pressing buttons on a little machine that hung around his neck.
A chair happened to open up so I took it and pulled Faith as close to me as I could. I took off her coat and readjusted the straps on her harness. She told me she wanted to go home. I explained to her first we had to see the dentist. A loud, abrupt noise from one of the people in the waiting room startled her. It seemed we would be waiting for a long time and to ease her nervousness about being at the dentist's, I told her we could go home right afterwards.
The door opened and more people continued to fill the room. An older lady entered pushing a man in a wheelchair. The man had cerebral palsy and was nonverbal. Following closely behind was an older man pushing someone who had to have been the other man in the wheelchair's brother. They looked just alike. As the woman sat down next to us with her son who looked to be in his 30's, Faith said hi to her and asked her name. "Diane, what's your name?"
"That's a pretty name."
Diane's son seemed to like Faith as he looked at her with his beautiful blue eyes and smiled at her. Faith simply smiled back.
Names were being called and Faith wondered when it would be her turn. As I looked at her to answer, I noticed a woman taking the man with the machine around his neck to the bathroom. Another man stood up by the desk, swinging shoe strings that were tied together back and forth. His caretaker kept a close eye on him as he seemed to like to wander.
As I observed all of these people with these different types of disabilities I wondered how their parents and/or their caretakers managed to take care of them. How did this older couple with the two men in wheelchairs find the strength to care for their sons daily? What was it like to try and care for someone who couldn't talk? So many different needs all right there in one waiting room.
Strange as it seems, I almost forget sometimes that I am one of those people. One of those parents whose child has special needs. Though she sits in a chair and can't walk, though she moves her arms in spastic motions, though she gets the bulk of her nutrition through a feeding tube, I sometimes forget that she is disabled. Is it because I see instead that she is SO ABLE to do many things despite her disability? Is it because her sweetness, her joy, her smile makes me easily forget the challenges? Or is it because I know that God has a wonderful plan for her life and that he has healed and continues to heal her?
It may be some of those reasons but the more I think about it, the more I think it's because she is a part of me and I love her deeply and unconditionally. My love for her enables me to see past her disability and past her imperfections and allows me to see her heart instead. And isn't that how it is with us and God? We are a part of Him and He loves us deeply and without condition. He sees past our imperfections, past our physical appearances and loves us despite our sins.
I wish I could love others as God loves us. It's easy to love my daughter but God calls me to love even my enemies. I pray that one day I will be able to look past people's imperfections, past their physical appearances and love them as God loves them.
So many thoughts from just sitting in the waiting room at the dentists office.
"Faith." Finally, they call her name and we head back.