To the Person Who Tried to Pray My Disability Away
To the person who tried to pray my disability away,
You had good intentions. I choose to believe that. Now I’m going to say what I was thinking when it happened. I’m a Christian, and I do believe God can heal, but I’m not speaking as a Christian. This is my voice as a person with disabilities.
With another person, you started off by saying, “We saw you limping from across the street.” That just warmed my heart a bit. I mean, who would care enough to walk over to a stranger and say that? (I’m being sarcastic here.) At first, I thought you thought I was hurt and quickly said I’m disabled. That it was nothing and I was fine. Sometimes that happens. Still good intentions, right? You continued talking and asked if you could pray for me. Specifically, for me to be healed of my disability. Then the realization hit me. Honestly, it left me speechless for a moment. I was in a foreign country where I looked like the majority of people. You didn’t even know if I spoke English. It was the first time something like this had happened.
You wanted to pray my disability away. You started talking about the miracles of healing that happened in the Bible. I was still stunned at this point. You thought you were offering me the best thing. The ultimate fix to what you thought was broken.
I told you upfront that I’m really content, but I let you pray for me, telling you about my smaller weaker left side. What could it hurt? I figured you already knew about the limp. You prayed and nothing happened. I was OK with that. But you couldn’t believe nothing happened. Like many people when things don’t go their way, you found someone to blame. Me. Your said sometimes God doesn’t heal because the person doesn’t believe. At this point, I really didn’t know what to feel, so I explained my beliefs (even though I didn’t need to). After that, I left.
It took me a while to process everything. My emotions ranged from shock to confusion. I mean, why would you blame me for not believing when it was you who approached me? I was furious for a while, but at myself for not being able to say any of this. My anger has cooled, and I wanted to let you know this.
Your first words to me reminded me that the world can choose to see the disability and not the person. It reminded me that I was different and not in a good way. You just saw something to fix. Not to mention, that’s a little bit rude. Now I am used to the stares, and I welcome questions about why I walk this way from people I meet. You didn’t care about me as a person. You were going to fix me and change my life, right? You had good intentions?
From the start, you made me feel less than a human being. I didn’t know it at the time. What I want to say the most, what I wish I had said to your face, is this: I am not a thing that is broken and needs to be fixed. I understand you were trying to help me, but all this said to me is that I am not good enough as I am. I have struggled so much with feeling like that in my life. Do you think that I haven’t thought about life without a disability? When I fell four to fives times a day? When a guy called me a cripple? When people talk down to me like I’m a child? When I had to get Botox and therapy just to be able to walk straight? When people look at me and all they see is a liability?
There’s a lot I can’t control in my life. What I can do is control how I react to those things. I am content and happy as I am. What you see as something to be fixed, a weakness, I see as strength. My disability has made me who I am. There is no easy fix to life. My body may be work differently than yours, but it isn’t broken. Life is hard for everyone. I am content with my disability. If future brings a “cure,” great, but I am happy.
I write this not to make you bad, but to raise awareness of what it feels like when people want to pray disability away. You didn’t know. How could you? Now you do, and at the end of all this, I want you to know I forgive you. Thank you for thinking of me.
The Mighty is asking the following: Describe a moment you were met with negativity or adversity related to your disability and/or disease (or a loved one’s) and why you were proud of your response — or how you wish you could’ve responded. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.