The next Disability Blog Carnival is being hosted on the 9th of November over at Growing Up With a Disability. David suggested that whilst all stories/entries on disability are welcome the topic of spirituality would be an interesting one to discuss.
I know several bloggers who have a disability and how are a lot more religious than I am. Notably, Shi and Christamae. Unfortunately one of the downsides of the caringbridge system which Christamae uses is that you can't link to individual entries but her entries are well worth a read. I will point you to one specific entry of Shiloh's though - this one. But to me the topic of spirituality isn't just about religion be it organised or otherwise.
I have issues with organised religion as such - churches that aren't accessible and people who persist in telling me my disability is wrong. I have been told that I am in a chair because I sinned in a previous existance/life. And I've been stopped in the street by those irritating people who like to preach there. They asked if I believed in God and when I said Yes they told me that if I truly believed I wouldn't be like this. Another friend with CP was with me then and she was very upset by the comments they made. I was not. I have the strength to view that as it is - fear of the unknown.
Fear simply is False Evidence Appearing Real - in this case the idea that to be a true person, a whole person, a functioning member of society one cannot be disabled. I told them to F&*^ Off and left... my friend... she cried. Their spiritual beliefs led them to the understanding that to be anything but an able-bodied person was to be less valid as a person and was also a sign of a lack of religious belief.
My beliefs... My beliefs are different.
I believe that there is a higher power and that Prayer works. I believe in Karma (what you give is what you get returned) and that death is not the end. Most importantly I believe that everything happens for a reason but that sometimes we can't see that reason - the phrase can't see the wood for the trees springs to mind here.
My CP was caused by the fact that I was born prematurely and as my lungs were not fully developed I suffered brain damage due to a lack of oxygen. The bottom line is this: there was no way I would have ever made it through that unscathed. Either I would have died or as happened, I lived with brain damage which for me equaled CP.
I love my life and I am thankful for it. So I guess you could say I am grateful that I have CP. I've never thought about it that way... I wouldn't want to be without it, I've always said that. And truly because all I've ever known is being disabled I don't think I would know what to do with myself or possibly even how to cope. I am Emma and Emma has CP. I am not my CP but it is completely and utterly intertwined with me and couldn't be seperated.
I have had many many experiences that are unlikely to have happened if I wasn't disabled... some down right shitty but some absolutely amazing and ones I wouldn't wish away for anything.
I've had two very spiritual beliefs related to my CP for a long time and recently I've come to hold a third although I would say that relates more to the fact that I have battled severe depression.
I believe that the Higher Power chose me to have CP because I have a soul strong enough to cope with it and my parents and family have the fight in them to pick me up when things get tough and push me to keep going. Scream at me and refuse to let me stop even when it hurts them badly to do that.
When I was a child I used to walk substantially more than I do now. One day I was walking around Tesco (Supermarket) with mum and I fell over. I had just learnt how to pick myself up from the floor and I was soooo proud of that skill. It still needed work though and also when you can't do things for yourself doing the things you can matters so much more and means more than you can imagine if you've not been in that position yourself. I don't remember this incident but it is a story I have heard so many times that the pain it caused is now obvious to me because otherwise why would it have stuck in Mum's memory like that?
So, as I said, I fell over. Mum looked at me and went "pick yourself up then" and after a struggle I did. There was a lady from the Salvation Army nearby and she immediately began to pray Out Loud for the "poor disabled girl." By doing what she did she was doing what was best for me and it truly is things like that which I know had to have hurt my parents but which made me who I am today.
I also believe that it is my calling in life to work for disability awareness and disability rights and to make things better for people such as myself. That's something that caused me a lot of problems but after a lot of work with a wonderful counsellor I am now able to recognise and accept that this doesn't mean that I can't find the fight hard and that I have to worry about doing stuff to better others all the time. It is partially why I blog.
My third belief is one I have come to recently as I have begun to recover from and come out of my depression - I know that whatever happens will be for the best and I believe that I will OK even if at times it doesn't seem like it.
Oh and finally... I believe that if life gives you lemons you should make lemonade. then you should find someone whose life has given them Vodka and have a party! And if you should then find a third person whose life has given them Archers... well thats a damn fine party your gonna have and as they say good times were had by all!