My husband was recently talking to a neighbor about our recent move to the Sunshine State. He shared with our neighbor that while we miss Georgia, the move has been great. And it truly has. I am so grateful that God led us to our current home and blessed us with the means to own and maintain it. We are very close to restaurants and stores and Uber is readily available, which is great for the times when I get the itch to go somewhere alone! I have also found a wonderful small group of married Christian women that have become instant friends.
Well, it was during this conversation that our neighbor referred to me as his [my husband’s] wife with “special needs.” Special needs? I’ve never considered myself as “special needs.” I don’t even consider myself “disabled.” I may not be able to see well enough to drive or hear without hearing aids and I may have to do things differently, but I do not consider myself “special needs” or “disabled.”
This may come as a shock to some of you, but I love being Deaf…my blindness…well, let’s say I’m still working on embracing that part of my condition. But yes, I have no problems being Deaf. I can only recall one time when I was slightly frustrated with my hearing loss. Since I was raised orally, I depended largely on hearing aids and lipreading. For the most part, I had a happy childhood. But one day when I was about 8, I was frustrated with having to put on my hearing aids EVERY morning just to be able to hear and understand my parents and brothers. I wanted the freedom of waking up and automatically being able to communicate with ease. Thankfully, that pity party didn’t last long. I remember sitting on the sofa confessing my frustration to my mom. She looked at me and said, “Putting on hearing aids is no different than having to put glasses on every morning.” I guess this was all I needed to hear because I remember going back to playing with my little brother. Ever since, I have not struggled with my deafness. In fact, I have embraced it as a beautiful gift from God, especially when it comes to vacuuming. I hate the sound of the vacuum cleaner. And sometimes, I just like to turn the world off and enjoy some peace and quiet.
I want to make it clear that I am not offended by this man. I truly do not believe that he meant “special needs” in a negative sense. I just choose to not label myself as such. Do I have a little more ways to go to completely embrace my blindness? For sure. Blindness is still a relatively new thing for me. It was only 5 years ago that I had to give up driving and some days I still grapple with that loss of freedom. Nonetheless, I am confident that God specially made me, and one way or another He will show His glory through me (John 9:1-3).