Afterthoughts from Camp
Since I have been home from camp, I have received a number of emails and responses to what I wrote about camp. I am sorry it is over already. It was and unusual and wonderful experience for me. While I was there I got no weird stares, no disbelief, only respect and love. I wish that for everyone. Unfortunately, in many places in this world, to be respected and loved you have to be able bodied, good looking and have a career that others admire.
I am so glad that is not all there is. I don’t believe for one minute that any of that will matter when we look on our lives after we are gone from this earth. What I do know will matter is how loving, how respectful and how kind we were to those around us, especially to those who go unnoticed by most people in this world. I saw beautiful people at camp, with beautiful hearts, hearts that would never hurt someone intentionally. I saw kindness from the caregivers and others who were there to provide support, as well as the adults who live with a disability. It is not typical for those of us who have a disability to go about our lives and be valued for who we are, not pitied for our disability.
On Monday, after we returned from camp, my Mom and I went to pick up some photos that I was working on for my friends from camp. As we entered the store we were gawked at by six people standing together as we tried to enter the restroom. Not because we were all that interesting, but because they were in the mood to stare I guess. I didn’t experience this at camp for a week, so it was rather shocking to both my Mom and me. We were just trying to get our tasks done, not be stared at by strangers.
I am glad for my time with others who live unnoticed lives for who they are, and my family who loves me because of who I am. My heart is tender today and it feels sad.