For those of you who don't know me well, you will learn very quickly that I am a ponderer. I mean, I may be stuck on Barnabas lessons for a while, because it takes me more than a few days to really get deep into stuff. I'm thankful that God gives us snippits at a time to chew on, without overwhelming us. I'm still pondering Barnabas. Please bear with me, as I continue to share what all God is showing me through that one week experience.
One of the weirdest feelings when I first got there, was the fact people thought I was a Camper. ("Camper" meaning, a kid for the week needing someone within reaching distance of me at all times!) Due to my limp, I was asked several times within the first 24 hours if I was a camper. We had an "adult volunteer" leadership meeting the first morning I was there, so after that noone really questioned my status for the week.
Now, I need to state here, my limp, my "CP", has never hindered me. I have always considered myself "normal", and for the most part have a really positive attitude about the CP. It doesn't hinder me, and I'm thankful everyday that God gave me what He did. I may have a limp, but I can walk, my speech may slur when I'm tired, but I can talk, my eyes may work one eye at a time, but I can see, and ultimately, I live on my own, independently without ANY help from outside agencies. I am blessed. Period. End of story.
That being said, I still get stared at. Now most of the time, it's a game for me. I know, it sounds awful, but I try to have fun with it. I mean, walk at the mall, have someone stare at me, I wave at them, and then they feel bad, and look away. And I smile because I have smiled and waved at someone when they were thinking something about me, even as I walked by with my limp. When people stare, even if I don't wave in time, people look away. I mean, they realize that they were taught not to stare, and they look away.
And you know what I noticed at camp? EVERYONE looked back up and smiled. I had never experience that before. I mean, when I'm around people I know, they don't stare anymore. But I had never gone anyplace where people didn't know me, and had people look back up and smile. Noone stared at the limp without looking back up and smiling. Granted, I had people ask me about it, but that's okay. I'm very open about it. But, I broke down on about the third day when I pieced together what was happening. And, not only did people smile, almost all of them said, "Hi". For one week I experienced something incredible within that.
Now that I'm back in the "real" world, I wish we could move part of Camp to the real world. Don't get me wrong, I'm not becoming this bitter old lady, angry at the world. But, I do think, if we all smiled at people when we look at them, this world would be incredibly different.
So, next time you see someone "different" than you, please do them a favor...and look back up...