Monday, July 07, 2008

Journey

I was moved, almost to tears, three times yesterday. It began with a trip to church. I had called to see if the building was wheelchair accessible and was told, proudly, that it was. We found the entrance with the blue wheelchair guy painted on it and opened the door. Inside we found a ramp that was as steep as the side of Kilimanjaro. I was immediately pissed, but said nothing as I knew Joe really wanted to be there. I hauled ass out of the chair and Joe delicately walked me up the ramp and then ran the chair up to me. As I sat down a young, vibrant, woman came in sitting in a spiffy power chair. I asked her if her chair made it up the ramp, she laughed and said that it did but I'd have to move because she goes hell bent for leather up the ramp and then makes an immediate and sharp turn at the top. Brave girl.

During the service two young men got up to sing. I read in the church newspaper as I was waiting for the service to begin that they were a gay couple who wrote and sang spiritual songs at the same time as striving for mainstream notice. Jason and DeMarco, as they are known, sang beautifully and it was easy to fall under the spell of the music. What deeply moved me, though, was looking over during the song and seeing DeMarco's mother and father sitting in the church watching their son sing. They had been introduced to the congregation before the song began and when I looked at them I could only see his mother as his father's face was out of my view. She looked on her son with such deep pride. She glowed as he sang. Tears sprang to my eyes as I imagined the journey she had taken with her son. To be here, in this place, watching him sing with his loving partner at his side - it probably wasn't an easy journey. But she made it.

Later we went to Dominon to do some grocery shopping for the new apartment. I had sprained myself the day before so I wasn't pushing myself too hard or too far. I conferred with Joe as the the ingredients of vegetarian goulash and then wandered around the front of the store. I saw a mother of a young girl, maybe fourteen, with Down Syndrome. She was encouraging her daughter to take the few groceries in their basket through the till on her own. The little girl was very hesitant, she clearly didn't believe in herself. Mom poured self confidence into the child and then stood and watched as her daughter approached the till, emptied the basket, chatted with the clerk, counted out change and paid. Pride flooded mother's face. Tears sprang to my eyes as I imagined the journey she had taken with her daughter. It probably wasn't easy. She probably didn't expect to feel this deep deep pride. But she made it.

As we drove back up to our place in Baxter, I thought about the two mothers. I thought about that look of pride. Wishing I'd had that look, even once. But then I remembered that I had, and as I did, tears sprang to my eyes. I had been lecturing for over a year and Joe had steadfastly refused to come and hear me speak. At first I was deeply hurt and felt rejected but then I came to understand that he was afraid to be there in the audience, to feel the fear that I would feel. He had stage fright for me and couldn't get over it. Then I was asked to do a talk only blocks from where we lived. It was for Central Toronto Youth Services and they wanted me to speak about 'homosexuality and the disabled population' or something such. I prodded Joe to come, and he relented. During the talk he looked up at me like a deer in the headlights, I don't think he blinked for the whole 45 minutes of my talk. When it was done and the audience responded, loudly and postively, I saw pride in his eyes. It was a journey we'd taken to gether. It definately wasn't easy, but we made it.

We make the journey.

Then the journey makes us.

I think that's the deal.

(for information on the gay couple who sang at the church please go to http://www.jasonanddemarco.com/ )

7 comments:

FAB said...

Beautiful!

jackie kyllonen said...

Thanks for noticing those things in life most of us are too busy or arrogant to attend to- I'm so glad you and Joe were along the way on my journey.
All my love; Jackie Kyllonen

jackie kyllonen said...

Thanks for noticing those things in life most of us are too busy or arrogant to attend to- I'm so glad you and Joe were along the way on my journey.
All my love; Jackie Kyllonen

Anonymous said...

Once again Dave, i am completely moved to tears myself. A beautiful story.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I thought this discussion thread might interest you:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbouch/F2322273?thread=5642524

People there are discussing whether someone with MD (muscular dystrophy if I've spelled that right) has the right to ask a PA or carer to help him masturbate. There is some fuzziness on exactly what he means by "help" in this context, but people are debating the topic from multiple angles and perspectives.

gracie1956 said...

I think that somewhere, somehow, and in someway we contract (in a spiritual way before we come to this planet) with our life mates to teach each other certain lessons in this life. Some of the lessons are painful. Actually most of them are painful. But the only way to learn certain lessons is to go through certain experiences. These lifemates that we agree to be teachers and learners with are sometimes our great loves in this life and some of them are people that we struggle with, not realizing that they are participating with us in fulfilling some of those valuble life lessons.

I have gotten a little deep here, however it is important for me to remember that all my fellow travelers are my teachers. Some I appreciate and love without any effort at all and then there are some that I forget why they are in my path and I resent their intrusion. In that forgetting I tend to feel victimized until I come to acceptance and remember why I am here and why they are here with me...to learn love for everyone. No, the path is not easy and the journey is sometimes long but in the final analysis it really is worth every step.

Kei said...

Absolutely beautiful.