I was listening to a podcast called Enduring It Well on the Mormon Channel on Sunday morning. I love listening to stories of people who lived through difficult experiences and come out stronger from it.
This story, in particular, was about a mom whose son suffered from Tourette Syndrome. Because of this, he didn’t fit in well with other kids. Society judged him as being “misbehaved” or his parents as not disciplining him enough. He was extremely sensitive and couldn’t handle certain smells and feelings. He could become violent. He struggled with his feelings and behaviors to the point of wanting to die.
The mother discussed how there are disabilities that we can see – like someone in a wheelchair, someone with cancer, someone who is blind or deaf. But, there are other disabilities that we can’t see, but are just as difficult to overcome. Trials unseen.
This story has been on my mind. As someone who battles mental illness and loves family members who similarly suffer, I know that this is real. But, beyond mental illness, I believe there are other invisible disabilities that afflict us, hold us back and impede our progress.
Disability is defined as:
In that way, aren’t we all disabled by something or another? I’m not talking about the kind of disability that requires a special parking space or classification. And, I’m certainly not belittling those that live with physical handicaps.
But, can’t we all relate… in some small way… to a lack of “adequate power, strength, or physical or mental ability?” Haven’t we all been at a disadvantage at one time in our lives?
Why, then, do we compare ourselves with others? Why, then, do we compete? Why, then, do we hold grudges or resentments? Why do we judge? Why, then, do we deny forgiveness?
The first Sunday of every month in the Mormon church is called Fast & Testimony Meeting. Our members are asked to fast two meals, donate the money they would have spent on food to the poor and needy and are invited to bear their testimonies in a special Sunday service. It’s basically like a testimony open mic night, a chance to share what you believe and know to be true.
I believe that a testimony is a living, breathing thing. When we feed it, nurture it, love it – it will grow. When we neglect it, ignore it, deny it – it withers.
Today, this is my testimony. We are all at a disadvantage, in some way or another. We are all inadequate, in some way or another. We are all broken.
But, I also believe that our Lord loves broken things. He is the Master Healer. He can fix what we can’t. He can mend what is damaged. He can bind our heart back together. He can bridge the gap.
He is the author of our peace.
This month, I want to be kinder to myself. I want to be more understanding of my shortcomings. I want to allow myself the space to make mistakes, to falter, to be confused or unsure or imperfect.
I also want to focus on being more compassionate to those that consistently, routinely hurt me, annoy me, offend me. I want to take down some of the walls.
After all, maybe they’re just broken. Just like me.