Feeling Sorry For the Disabled

Homesickness Enhancing My Sympathy

Stadium Drive is where I noticed the student with Sclerosis.
Stadium Drive is where I noticed the student with Sclerosis.

When freshmen semester started, I was despondent about being away from home and family. I was told that homesickness (still I just suppose I was homesick.) is inevitable and it fades. Nonetheless during this period of reflection about the easiness of pre-college life, I inconsistently concentrated on resisting the emotion-with.

Whether the despondency diluted due to my conscious efforts or my subconscious adjustment to academic life doesn’t really matter, but as I walked to “B-point from A-went,” I spotted a student whose leg looked scarred, chafed, burned, and lash, limping to class. On another day, I saw a student deformed and dwarfed, hunched and broad-chested. And I thought: Greater suffering is in them than in me. I thought: their diseases must torment them.

Arbitrary Scaling of Their Sadness

A pine tree bursting from the sidewalk on stadium drive.
A pine tree bursting from the sidewalk on Stadium Drive.

And here I had erred. I cannot assume that they treat their diseases as blights and scale their sorrow with what I would think is unfortunate. They have lived with their bodies from birth, so they are used to it, but then again, they see people with “better bodies” and may feel ashamed that they are “different.”

What is Truly Different between Us

However, my mistake is not in assuming their thoughts but rather in differing them from me. If a squirrel looks at us, what does it see? “It.” And this is making all things equal. I should have seen the handicapped students and felt nothing, neither joy nor pain, satisfaction nor sorrow. I am just I, and they are just they, and to think otherwise alters what is truly real, what is truly the Tao.

We’ve all seen some type of disability, be it sclerosis, dwarfism, leprosy, deafness. I’d like to know how it made you feel. And I encourage you, reader, to follow the blog for more insights on becoming a Sage.


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