Thank goodness we do not write off people with handicaps as easily as we used to. We have made a place in society for them, realizing that they are human beings with rights and they offer much to society. There are guidelines for handicap access, in a myriad of buildings, walkways and parking places. Still, I wonder if we, in our heart of hearts, still see them a "less than".
Years ago, I had a baptism of experience in a small way of what they encounter, day after day.
I had back problems that not only affected my back, but my walking as well. I had to use a cane. Getting in and out of the car was painful. And because of the pain, I walked slowly.
From that experience, I can tell you this. People have places to go and things to do. I often felt that I was in their way. It wasn't just a perception that I had. I actually heard remarks, as well as sighs and grunts.
When people could pass me easily, all was well. But there were times, I just plain ole' held them up. People in back of me, were sometimes not happy with having their forward motion slowed up in any way.
Being “forced” into this experience, opened my eyes though. I came away with more empathy.
This made me think of another handicapped person, who I knew when my children were in their tweens.
She lived down the street from us. Her name was Grannie Smith. She was an elderly woman. She was practically blind.
Some could say she had 2 strikes against her...she was old...she was blind.
What purpose could such a person have?
Well, you'd have to know her to know.
I found out that she prayed daily for the people in her neighborhood.
She was one of the most joyous persons that I ever met. When I was introduced to her, it was as if fireworks went on inside of her. Her countenance lit up and she seemed pleased that she had the honor of meeting me.
I became the face of a person that she had been praying for, since we moved into the neighborhood.
She asked questions about me and my family. She didn't do this to be polite; rather she was interested she had me write down the date of our wedding anniversary. She also wanted to know the birthdates of our children.
Years after meeting her, I was in the shower and the Lord spoke to me, saying “Do you realize that part of the reason that you have a relationship with me, is because of the prayers of Grannie Smith?” Knowing she must have needed encouragement that her prayers were fruitful, He asked me to go over and thank her. Of course, one of the greatest feelings is that when you have prayed, God heard and there was an answer to that prayer.
So I went over and told her just that. Again, she giggled and she hugged me and twirled me around, as much as she was able. It was such a delight to behold.
In May, soon after meeting her, our phone rang, at a very early hour. It was Grannie Smith, on the line, asking for our son. When he took the phone, she sang Happy Birthday to him.
He hung up, kind of rolling his eyes, as he was clueless as to who this singer was. However, in a small way, he seemed to like it.
In June, my husband and I got an Anniversary Card from her, signed with shaky, scrawling signature. She always wrote her Life Verse on her envelopes. She sent them years without fail.
In December, our daughter got her early morning call.
This tradition went on for years.
Towards the end of her life, when she was placed in a Nursing Home, she was unable to make her calls. Our children, who originally thought the calls were silly, missed them.
She didn't have an earthly title. She wasn't educated or famous. She was not named in a Who's Who list, but in reality she was all of those.
Her real title was a daughter of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. She was an excellent student of the Word of God. She listened to them on tape. I am sure that she was talked about by the angels and many saints, living and dead. Her name was written in Lambs Book of Life, which is greater than any human recognition book.
That’s why I pray for each of you to have a Grannie Smith in your life.
I ask God, that you would have someone, who would delight in you and give of themselves fully to you. One that made you feel happy. One that has their own weaknesses, physical or otherwise, but would offer all that they had to you. One who accepts you just as you are. One who listens intently about your life and remembers details that you have told them. And especially one who has a friend, who they know will change your life, from the inside out.
Like her, God looks in each of OUR hands and says, “What do YOU have to give?”
You can’t convince Him that you have nothing to give.
Grannie Smith proved that to me.
A recent popular quote says, “Some gave all” and Grannie Smith certainly was one of those in my life.