Friday, November 23, 2012

You Owe Me Dinner

I discovered this book via Jean's link to the macarisms blog.  I'm very glad I did.  It is a great book, easy to read yet challenging and heart-wrenching at the same time.

Jim Stallard worked with people with disability for years, but conceded he never really grasped the reality of a life of disability, even being an insulin dependent diabetic and blind in one eye himself.  Then an accident left him a quadriplegic and his daily life and health changed completely.

The book is the story of the 13 years since the accident.  You are allowed in to see the close family relationship of the Stallards and the many and various health issues raised by Jim's quadriplegia.  It is a gripping and emotional story.  Throughout it Jim weaves thoughts about society's inability to deal with disability, and challenges the church to be much more inclusive and understanding of the needs of people living daily with disability. 
I learnt very quickly that unless disability was personal, it could easily be ignored. (p94)  
It wasn't until I went to the CBM website to order the book that I discovered that Jim died last year.  He is already seated at the great banquet in heaven.  His challenge is to ask whether we are inviting those with disability to join our lives now.
I sometimes get asked if I want to be healed.  This question is not only dumb, it is demeaning, demoralising, and dehumanising.  Nobody with a disability I know has said, 'Gee, that's a good idea.  I wish I'd thought of it sooner!'  Nobody with a chronic illess thinks it is fun.  My disability is a circumstance I have to deal with, and I cannot afford to let my circumstances dictate my faith.  Rather, my faith helps me dictate how I handle my circumstances.  And my faith helps me wait for healing.

However, while I wait for healing, I need access, acceptance and affirmation... disability is not my biggest problem.  My biggest problem arises when able-bodied people only see my disability and not the rest of me.  (p96)
It will challenge you to consider your response to disability, both as an individual and as part of the church.

1 comment:

laura said...

Thanks Wendy for a great review. Disability's something that unfortunately isn't on a lot of churches' radars yet. I didn't know about CBM until now, so thanks for the link.

I'll have to add this one to my (ever increasing) list of summer reading!