Sep 2, 2012

should i expect it?


My parents generously scheduled a vacation in a beautiful, gated community for a week for our whole family. Ian and I couldn't resist the pool, even though it's too soon after Ian's surgery to swim. It seemed enough to get to lay in a chair, by the pool, and I could hop in and out while keeping close to Ian.

But it's a beautiful day and the pool is full. All the chairs are covered with bodies. And so we found a little section of grass, with one bath towel, and I awkwardly helped ian to the ground.

Of course people were watching, even though their eyes darted as soon as they met mine. Yet no one offered my disabled husband their chair. Someone who could easily and comfortably lay on a towel, kids even, have a chair. But no one offered one to Ian.

It struck me once we had settled, after we removed the wheelchair cushion and repurposed it for a pillow, that no one asked. They just watched.

But, should we expect that kindness? Should the five year old be told by his parents to give his chair away?

I'm still not sure. And I don't know what I would do, if I were the one in the chair.

I do though, want to seek after kindness of all shapes and sizes within my own heart. And I do want these own feelings of mine to help me to anticipate others needs, especially when it's someone like my dear Ian.

22 comments:

~~Rhonda said...

Yes, someone should have offered Ian a chair. Ideally, a parent would set the example by offering his/her chair and then tell the child to offer a chair also, so you each had a chair. Common courtesy, Christian hospitality. I'm sorry no one offered. Your heart must know how to be very forgiving. Praying God encourages you and Ian in a breath-taking way. ~~Rhonda

Vanessa Strickland said...

Thank you. Thank you for posting this and sharing your thoughts and feelings.
I think having a heart of compassion and consideration and love for others should be fostered in all ages and it's a good reminder of what I should be fostering in my heart as well as in the hearts of my kids.

joanruiz53@yahoo.es said...

Dear LArissa

Once more, reading your blogs is like reading Acts 29, indeed!

In this case, your lack of anger against those who hurt you is so Christ-like...

I wonder what I would do if I were you


Joan
Barcelona, Spain

Jen said...

Absolutely, someone should have offered a chair to Ian! However, some people who have never had to deal with such a situation may have felt it would be embarrassing to you or Ian, for whatever reason for them to offer their seat to him. My husband had a stroke and walks with a brace, a cane, and he's not very graceful. In other words, it's obvious he needs some help. So when I offer to help someone elses, sometimes I say, "my husband walks with a cane" or "My husband used to use a wheelchair" just to let them that I might have some small inkling of what they're experiencing. I just hope that my kids will grow up not feeling uncomfortable around disabilities the way some people are. :)

Jen said...

Just one more note - not trying to take over your blog. There have been times that I have offered help to people, either trying to get from a wheelchair to a car, or a blind person trying to get from Point A to Point B, etc., but they refused. And then I feel a little embarrassed because I think they assume that I think they are incapable, when I was really just offering some kindness.

In any case, you continue to inspire me with your selfless love for you husband. :)

gccmom said...

Absolutely, someone should have offered a chair. There was a time when it would have been unthinkable to not offer. It is up to parents and grandparents to model this sort of behavior. I am appalled so many times about this self centered behavior in our society. it is all about us. A few years ago, I was in Williamsburg with my 80+ year old mom. She uses a cane. The buses were very crowded and she cannot stand up for the ride. We had to wait through three buses until she could get on one and sit down. No one would give up their seat. I am sorry we, as a nation, have come to this. I hope you have a great, relaxing vacation.

Lucie said...

ABSOLUTELY someone should have offered. Yes. I would have. And I'm not saying that to sound like a goody-two-shoes, either. It's just common courtesy, like we practice in the South. But it should be practiced everywhere. Sounds like you handled the situation with grace. It may be that everyone was waiting for someone else to go first...I just don't know.

Ro Elliott said...

Oh thank-you for sharing your heart...I would love to think I would have offered my chair...just like I would like to think I would not have been one of the ones yelling “crucify Him”...These words here bring tears to my eyes...and I pray for God to change my heart...to see and love with compassion those around me...those I know and those i don’t know. And if my kids see me living this life...they will live it too...so much more is caught than taught. blessings to you...i love reading your heart here.

Heather Harwood said...

My guess is, people were more concerned with their own reactions to the unusual person in their midst...it's not that we don't care, I think it's that most of us don't step outside our own selves long enough to sense others' needs...especially not without actively asking the Spirit to show us who needs our kindness. Praying for the Spirit to show people how to be kind to you and Ian the remainder of your stay! And for the Spirit to remind me to stay sensitive to others who don't ask for help with words, but with open hearts. I hope you stay open even when it hurts.

Anonymous said...

Rhonda said it perfectly.

Pretty lady said...

I was faced with a similar situation yesterday and I asked the same thing: should I expect it?
Someone I was with said: If they haven't lived through it, they can't give what they haven't needed.

I guess it's about education other to these needs.

A Dusty Frame said...

:( My son or I would have offered a chair to you.

It makes me sad that we've become so selfish in this society.
Lizzie

Donna said...

Larissa, I am so sorry this happened. It hurts. Experiences like these do make us hungry to show compassion to others in need. They also remind us of the humanness of our Lord, and how those He loved turned away from Him in His hours of greatest need.

Praying for you tonight, and with you, looking forward to seeing Jesus in the dancing room.

Teresa Messick said...

Unfortunately, that is a sign of our times....no common courtesy taught or modeled. I am so sorry that happened to you and Ian! It will inspire me to re-visit that little bit of teaching with my children--just in case they have forgotten! Many, many blessings!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that you weren't offered help, Larissa. A sign that we truly live in a fallen world when our fellow man cannot or will not help another.
But Jesus sees. He knows; He cares.
Not exactly the same, but this Scripture came to my mind when reading your post, Matthew 8:20

And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Still Praying.

Mary Ann K.

Emily said...

So sorry that happened and I love your heart. I echo what someone posted above- people may have been afraid of offending you or Ian and been unsure of what to do. Not that saying nothing was the right answer, but their lack of action could have been out of uncertainty as much as selfishness.

Krissy said...

This was a good reminder post for me. When I studied gerontology in college (the study of aging) we did an aging sensitivity training that was really helpful. Try putting pebbles in your shoes (to simulate arthric feet/pain with walking), or applying a light coat of vaseline to your glasses (cataracts) or taping popsicle sticks to your fingers to show how difficult it can be to open door handles, etc. Really opened my eyes to the amazing grit and determination people have to accomplish so much when their bodies aren't completely whole and healthy. Our professor set great examples for us, like parking at the end of the parking lot to save the close spaces for the people who might need them.

Also, one of my best friends has cystic fibrosis and doesn't "look" sick or disabled, but my you should see how some people look at her if she uses her handicap parking tag...so much goes on inside the body that isn't visible.

@Jen, don't get discouraged or feel embarassed in offering to help someone. I don't think eveyone has said yes to me, but some have and think God is happy when we can help/notice with the details of someone's day.

As a side note, when I was 38 weeks pregnant with my full-sized twins, you would not believe how many people in the grocery store asked me to get things for them on the top shelf. (I am a whopping 5'6"!) This amused me to no end. Doesn't matter if you are young or old, of a different generation or not, sometimes we can be very wrapped up in our own worlds!

Anonymous said...

It helps me to read your blog, because sometimes in this situation I am not sure if I will embarrass people by bringing attention to their need? I realize that's a weird way to think about it.

Anonymous said...

I understand, Larissa. While caring for a mentally ill loved one, I have similar experiences frequently. Not many people understand or even bother to sympathize, especially when the ill person is an adult male. The general attitude is 'why can't he take care of himself? Or why are you (a female) doing this or that for him?' Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Larissa. Hopefully it will enlighten many to have empathy as Christ did, to the least of these.

Abigail Cashelle said...

Hi Larissa,

I don't know if you already do this, but as someone with an invisible illness, it really bothers me when people don't offer their seat on a bus, etc, to me. I've gotten better at asking, and my friends can be very forthright. Excuse me, ma'am; my friend here needs a seat. Usually someone will offer. But then again, I live in the South where people tend to be sensitive.

It's hard. And I'm realizing how much I need to be humble. The Lord when He was on earth was rejected by so many people who should have moved out of His way or not inconvenienced Him. I'm impressed even more by how much compassion He had for man.

Wendy Glosser said...

OK...this is totally different from anyone else's comment...but being a nurse...a praying nurse who is often challenged by your blog....I noticed you were able to help Ian sit on the ground. WOOOOOT!!! What a blessing that was to me to read! I would like to think my grown sons would offer you a chair....I know my husband and I would have but we were raised in that generation. I love your heart.

Laura said...

I wouldn't have offered my chair before I read this, for the reasons other people gave above; but now having read this I would act differently. Posts like this are really helpful, thank you.