I had an odd experience today.
We had parked outside the office where I was going to be consulting. I was seated comfortably in a parked car. Even though it was still warm from the drive up, it was cooling quickly in the sub-zero temperature. Joe was outside, checking the area beside the car to see if it was slippery or dangerous for me to stand on. Satisfied that all was well, he opened the trunk.
Across from me is a picture window that looks in on a fitness center. In the morning sun it has become more of a mirror than a window. I see Joe behind getting things out of the trunk. Then I see him pull the wheelchair out and set it on the cold sidewalk. I saw my chair sitting there and it felt, oddly, like much more than a chair. I smiled looking at it. I felt that smile to be the same one I use when greeting old friends, or seeing happy dogs, or looking at pictures of fond moments. It played on my lips, telling me something.
It told me that my wheelchair was now so much a part of my life that I think of it less like an impersonal 'thing' and more like a personal friend. This 'thing' that people are so afraid of ... isn't an object of terror ... this life that I've been given ... isn't so bad after all. I realized, in seeing my chair, my old friend, that I am full habilitated as a disabled person. I'm fully comfortable with my role in life and my roll through life. Really OK.
When I got out of the car, I said to Joe, 'I think I'll hold on to your shoulder and walk over to the building instead of riding.'
Joe took the brakes off the chair and asked, 'Why, it's slippery?'
I said, 'I thought I'd give my chair just a few minutes off duty today.'
After a pause Joe said, 'You know what's weird? I know what you mean.'