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  • 标题:The Blind Leading The Paralyzed - friendship of disabled persons - Brief Article
  • 作者:Joni Eareckson Tada
  • 期刊名称:Accent on Living
  • 印刷版ISSN:0001-4508
  • 出版年度:2001
  • 卷号:Summer 2001
  • 出版社:Cheever Publishing, Inc.

The Blind Leading The Paralyzed - friendship of disabled persons - Brief Article

Joni Eareckson Tada

When my friend Karen comes to town, I always carve out time in my schedule to enjoy dinner with her. She's happy-hearted, outgoing, adventurous and just plain fun to be with. I should explain that Karen is legally blind and uses a wheelchair - in the past, our dinners together have always included an extra friend or two; due to our disabilities, we both know that we require a little extra help.

Last week, however, Karen flew into town by herself. She decided to come to California without the aid of a friend or her companion dog, just to see if she could do it 'on her own.' She was so elated that she had made it in and out of LAX airport by herself.

When Karen showed up at my office, I was glad to see that one of her old friends who lives in downtown Los Angeles had graciously driven her. Karen asked me, "Are you ready to head to the restaurant?" and I replied, "Sure!" I turned to her friend and said, "I'm glad you're joining us" to which the woman replied, "Oh, no, I'm heading back. Karen just needed me to drop her off here at your office." I looked at Karen and gave her a wry smile. "It's just you and me!" she said with a wink.

Karen and I headed for a restaurant across the freeway from where I work. As she and I wheeled to the door, I asked her friend to give me a little assistance before she left us. Once we got settled at our table, I told her to "Reach into the back of my back pack, get my special spoon (for those of you who don't know, my hands are paralyzed)... and please place the spoon in the little cuff right here on my armsplint and, yes, that's right and... now put the napkin on my lap and would you please push my glass of water near Karen so she can (Karen, you're not going to knock this over, are you)... put it there so Karen can reach it for me and hold it to my mouth."

I don't mind telling you that once Karen's friend left us, I'm sure the other diners sitting near us became a little nervous. They could tell that "these two were on their own." I saw someone eyeing us when Karen -- bless her heart -- put her hands around the glass and lifted it so I could reach the straw. Karen said, "Is this the blind leading the paralyzed?" "No," I said laughing, "this is the paralyzed leading the blind because I have to tell you where your food is on the plate!"

After awhile, people stopped staring. I think it was because they saw how relaxed we were, despite the comedy of trial and error. I also think they were blessed to see that a blind woman and a quadriplegic in a wheelchair would be brave enough to push past their disabilities to share a meal together. Most of all, Karen and I commented later that we hoped the diners around us -- with all their staring -- noticed that we bowed our heads and asked God to bless our meal. "It was a witness!" Karen shared. "It was also a witness that we got through the meal without spilling anything on the floor."

Life is an adventure. Like Karen said that evening at the restaurant, "Joni, one day I know I won't be able to do this kind of thing by myself. I won't be able to fly on my own or have dinner alone with a friend. I realize that my disability is getting worse. So I'm going to make the most of the time I've got and do what I can with what little I've got left."

This is, why Karen is such a huge inspiration to me. I know one blind woman who can lead this paralyzed person any day. Because I know it'll always be an adventure.

Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a quadriplegic since 1967 from a diving accident, is president of JAF Ministries which she founded in 1979. If you would like to learn about one of JAF's national retreats, visit their website.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Cheever Publishing, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group

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