Sunday, November 05, 2006

Avenging Angels

Since I was diagnosed with diabetes I've been off the junk food. Candy bars ... I can joke about them like I did in the Halloween post but I don't eat them. I've discovered the world of sugar free, a fairly narrow world that is too. So, when I get the urge for junk, I can't buy food. So, I buy magazines. You've all seen them in the grocery store line up. They've got the coolest headlines too. My favourite was one about how aliens inhabit Cher's body on a rent to own basis. But this week, the Sun's headlines screamed, "Shocking prophecy will come true this year! AVENGING ANGELS DESTROY ALL OUR ENEMIES." Then in a little red circle are the words, "The story every PATRIOTIC AMERICAN must read."

Well, I'm no American, but I fell into the "must read" category. Try as I might, at first, I couldn't find the story between the covers. I read all about how glass grew out of this kids head and about a magic troll that makes lottery tickets winners, but no quotes from G. W. Bush or the Pope as promised on the cover. Oh, well. Then suddenly I found it, it was obscured because of being placed next to a full page that had the headline, "SEX - HARDNESS - ENDURANCE - PERFORMANCE." Frankly, what could compete? The article was completely frightening as it described the angel Metatron (I'm truly not kidding) with a bloodthirsty agenda. Whew.

So I thought about this idea of avenging angels saving us all. And frankly, I don't like it. Not that I don't have an enemy or two I wouldn't mind being smote, or smited, or however you conjugate 'to smite'. Having angels do it is just way to, I don't know, easy. Lazy, almost. Besides, I hate cleaning bird droppings off my windshield, I can't imagine scraping off Angel Droppings. Ugh.

I think I first cottoned on to this when I was in University. I was part of an outing to a 'special school' for 'special kids' using 'special education'. When we got there it the recess bell had just rung and there was absolute pandemonium in the hallway. There was one little boy, cute as a button, down on one knee working so hard to tie his shoe. Concentration was all over his face and you could almost see the task analysis used to teach him as he worked through the steps. Then he'd get jostled by another kid and have to start all over again. Soon he was the only kid left in the hallway. In the quiet, he attempted again.

One of my classmates did what we all wanted to do. She leaned down to him and gently said, "Here, let me help you with that." The kid didn't even look up from what he was doing and said, clearly through ill formed words, "No, I can do it myself." And in a few minutes he proved his words true.

I've seen that scene over and over again through the years, helpful hands rejected as hands attached to slow learners swatted them away. "I can do it myself." Frankly, I've had my hands swatted away as I reached to help where no help was wanted, or indeed needed. It's tough enough to have a disabilty but to be required to hand over the ability you do have to a 'helping other' is demeaning. I understand that now, in a wheelchair when I'm out in public, I get offers of help from the oddest assortment of people. I know that they are kindly meant but I don't want help (unless I ask for it). And, in truth, I find the unsolicited offers somewhat offensive. "I can do it myself." Swat.

I can see how some disabled people can get lazy. They learn it's just easier to let someone else do it for them. But then, I see the same thing in society today. Let someone else take care of the mess that's been made.

But I don't want avenging angels fixing things. Maybe I'm naive, or maybe after a year in a wheelchair, I've finally caught that little boy's resolve.

"We can do it ourselves."

It might take time. It might take prayer. It might take courage and resolve. It might take changing. It might take steadfastness. It will surely take patience.


"We can do it ourselves."

For surely, peace made is more powerful and more lasting than peace imposed.


"We can do it ourselves."

Does anyone know if ebay sells giant angel swatters?


Belinda said...

Thanks for making me laugh at the mental image of you swatting an angel, and an avenging one at that!

Anonymous said...

Giant angel swatters? Ha ha ha ha ha, thanks for the laugh Dave. Now I have to go back and read the post again because I am just stuck on the image of giant angel swatters ;-)

Anonymous said...

It's not that I'm not with the times - certainly intergration is the only way to go. As I read, I felt disdain - "so disdainful" the thoughts on the "special needs past". Although the concept was wrong and therefore didn't work, I know of people working in those rooms who truly believed they gave the kids the very best, and they did it with love, showing no disdain, no scorn, no contempt. As November 11 is near, I think of the fallen soldiers. Without the wars they took part in our reality probably would be very different. I say "No" to war, I love peace, but do believe that many soldiers believed they saved their survivors from the bogey-man.
Oh, how difficult it is to be right, correct, to do enough yet not too much. Please forgive me for opening the door and imagine that I do so because it gives me a small pleasure, some joy to be able to do it. Not everything is what you think it is: "someone's day is someone's night".

Book Girl said...

Hi Dave,

Your writing is wonderful. I'm working my way through all of your posts, and I feel compelled to comment on most of them, but my hands would conk ount on me before I said anything I wanted to say. Here is my `rant' on help.

Shan said...

I am laughing my freaking head off.