Special to The Mobility Resource
Like Nelson Mandela raising his head stoically to social injustice, Dr. King sweeping his hand across the podium in spirit-moved, preaching power, and like
Mel Gibson William Wallace screaming freedom upon his last breath, ironically coiled in the bonds of imprisonment, there comes a time when every child under the age of ten declares their final straw and their decision to run away from home official.
In these moments, mothers and fathers stop dead, faucets are squealed off, coffee mugs are dropped, and the goldfish freeze in their bowls and stare blank shock at this child. For today is the today the family will forever shatter upon the running away of their cookie, bedtime and audience-deprived youngling.
As a similar child back in the day, when pushed to the brink of frustration battling my siblings or demanding justice from my parents over extremely important matters in the 7-year-old mind, I, too, made such declarations. Only with me, there was a motorized wheelchair to account for as well.
After drafting my declaration of independence (There comes a time in the course of childhood when the offspring must sever the paternal restrictions of ____ ), I cried out my announcement and after some difficulty, wedged open the door and freed myself into the wild world like Bilbo Baggins. Unafraid, sure. Not at ALL hoping someone would come sprinting after me with pleas of my return.
It was a sunny day that day. The day I ran away. However, it had rained previously, making the ground soft, with a threatening squishy sound beneath my wheels. I made it all the way to the bikepath, a daring sixteenth of a mile, until–that dreaded moment. That sinking feeling.
No, literally, I was legit sinking. Into the mud.
Yes, upon my running away from home, I got stuck in the mud. And help was not an option. I had run away. This world is to be faced alone now!
Many people passed on the bikepath and I pretended there wasn’t a problem. At last, when my sister came, she asked, with a poorly suppressed smile of amusement, if I needed help.
“No.” My arms were crossed. You know the look.
My valiant sister, of course, waged the type of rebellion that had me packing in the first place and heaved me from the mud. From there I rolled home, to a family more exceptionally loving than I wanted to admit at the time, clumps of dirt dissolving off my tires and the bitterness unfurling into weariness.
Often times I return to this thought, though. If ever a day came where I truly had to brave the streets on my own–would I make it? Bathroom is already awkward whether I’m at Buckingham Palace or sitting around a tin-can fire in the alley behind Denny’s. So I’d manage that. Food, I could charm myself into. Sleep–it’d happen.
There are times when I think–maybe I could make it in this world alone.
But we’re not meant for that, are we? What is disguised as a curse, fellow impaired, is a blessing that we need to recognize. Face this right now. We. Need. Human. Beings. We wouldn’t survive without the care of others. But it is in this that we have the gift of experiencing the most beautiful sides of humanity. We are not only here to learn that we are never alone, but, even more so, that we are never meant to be.
Because just when I think I have that running-away-living-on-the-streets thing figured out.
I remember the wheelchair battery.
Hope everyone had a blessed day. You are not alone.