AREN’T THESE SHOES ARE FABULOUS?
I recently wanted to wear them to a fancy party. I knew it wasn’t practical, but, I had this beautiful red dress that just screamed for these shoes. I have a closet full of shoes I cannot wear. I especially cannot wear boots. Can’t even walk from the bedroom to the kitchen in them because they are too heavy. But, these shoes are light. I’m only five feet tall, so if I’m going to wear a long dress, I really need high heels. Myasthenia gravis causes fatigable weakness. That means the more I use my muscles, the weaker they get. I am able to get out of the car and start walking and I am fine, for a few steps. I can’t walk far. I know wearing high heels looks bad, but I am so tired of wearing flats. The weight of the shoe is more important than the height. So here I go, high heeled and handicapped.
I AM GUILTY
I suspect you are guilty, too. I have frequently judged others by outward appearance. I guess that is why I am so self-conscious. Recently, I was able to go to the store, which is an enormous challenge for me now. Walking in from the parking lot, up and down a few select aisles and back to the car is rarely possible. Then add the demand of removing items from the shelf and placing them in the cart, it wears me out. Lifting groceries respectively from the cart to the conveyor belt is out the question, so I just ask for help. Sometimes I park in the designated handicapped parking. Sometimes I don’t. On a recent outing I didn’t. Obviously, if I was going to the store, I felt particularly strong. The problem is I am overly ambitious and my strength is limited. I tried to pace myself and walked annoyingly slow. I barely made it back to my car and began to get too weak to load my little bag of groceries. My strength was spent.
I HAD AN EMPTY SHOPPING CART
The corral was not far away by your standards. It might as well have been at the top of Mt. Everest for me. I simply could not do anything about it. So I left it beside my car and drove off. It particularly disturbed me. I experienced shopping cart shame. Within one week I saw a social media rant about “healthy” people not returning shopping carts to the corral, leaving them in the parking lot to potentially damage our precious vehicles. It hit a nerve.
I shouldn’t have. Surely you can relate to that guttural impulse to make your case. I look perfectly healthy. I have an “invisible” illness. Muscle weakness cannot be seen by others. Someone I do not know replied.
WHY DOES THIS BOTHER YOU SO MUCH?
Great question. Simple answer. Because I have personally been guilty of judging people in my own heart. I’ve seen people who look healthy and accused them of being lazy, or worse, inconsiderate. Now I have a completely different perspective. We are only capable of looking at the outward appearances. Appearance cannot tell the whole story.
ONLY GOD SEES THE HEART
He alone is able to rightly judge. He sent Samuel to visit Jesse to anoint a king. Jesse had some big, strapping, good looking sons that fit the bill perfectly for a king. They would have been obvious choices. God rejected them. He plainly told Samuel that He looks at the inner man. He chose the unlikely, younger son, David. God seems to delight in choosing the unlikely. If He chose the righteous, the talented, the capable; then His power would not be on display. Instead, He looks at the heart and sees:
the willing rather than the winners
the failures rather than the fabulous
the potential rather than the powerful
The next time you see someone parking in a handicapped space, or riding an electric scooter who doesn’t fit the mold, consider that they have a hidden illness rather than assuming anything. Then remind me sometime to tell you about the time I went ballistic in the grocery store parking lot when I saw a woman let her cart roll into my brand new car.
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