I spoke on the phone with my girlfriend last night. She was born with spinal bifida and uses a wheelchair full-time. She lives near me and we enjoy the company of one another and swapping disability funnies and understanding each other’s world. This week, she went out on a date with a new guy she had never been out with before. So we were girl-chatting about how it went and first impressions and all that hoopla that girls love to talk about.
For a girl with a disability, there are body-image issues that we all deal with when meeting new people for the first time. As she and I talked, we started sharing about her first impressions of him and what she thought were his first impressions of her. I already liked the guy because he did not draw any attention to her wheelchair but talked about her. He wanted to know more about her – not just her disability. Let me tell you, that scored some major brownie points!
That conversation got me to thinking about how wonderful it is when people look at me as a who – not a what. I am not a disabled person that is check-marked on the U.S. Census form. I am not a full-time wheelchair user. I am not a paraplegic. I am not a person that cannot walk. Those are all “what’s” about me, but they are not me. I am Alicia Reagan. I love to decorate. I love color. I love my kids. I love to stay busy. I love to hear birds sing. I love to sing. I love to play the guitar. I love being with friends. I love dates with my hubby. I love God. I love to study the Bible. These are things that tell you who I am. I am not a “what”. I am a “who”.
Can I tell you how this gets even more precious for me? I am an American. I am Caucasian. I am a female. I am conservative. I live in Ohio. I am a Pastor’s wife. I am the mother of 6 children. These are all “what’s”. But to God, He doesn’t care about all of these “what’s”. He takes interest in me as a “who”. He knows me by name. He knew me and had plans for my life while I was still in my mother’s womb. He has charted a course for my life and works with me in a beautiful relationship to make sure I stay on track. He knows the very number of hairs on my head! What a God!! That He would notice me. Not for all the “what’s” I can or cannot do, but for me. Just because He loves me and desired to know me before I ever desired to know Him.
As a human, this is awesome to me. As a human with a noticeable disability that cannot be hidden, this is unbelievably precious to me! I am so thankful that to God, I am a “who” and not a “what”.