We were driving home from work, coming down Yonge Street, and we were stopped at a light. Suddenly there appeared in front of us one of the world's smallest dogs. The dog was walking with incredible purpose, eyes on the small parkette on the other side of the road. Attached to the mini-mutt was a retractable leash stretched taut. On the other end was a big fellow riding an equally big power wheelchair. It looked like a very low budget Santa fitted out with One Tiny Sleigh-dog. Joe and I both started laughing. The fellow in the chair looked over at us and saw us laughing. He said something that we couldn't hear because the window was up.
I rolled mine down and he said again, 'He's sure that he's pulling me across the road. I let him believe it, he needs to feel like he is helping out.' We all laughed again and the dog, with dignity fully intact, was sitting at the park waiting for the lead to pull the chair the rest of the way.
A few days ago we were coming home from the store and my chair was loaded down. A bag of groceries hung from the back. I held a huge and heavy bag in one hand and steered the chair with the other. Joe said, 'Let me carry something, I don't want to use you as a pack mule.' I said, in all seriousness, 'You do so much for me, let me do this for you.' And he did.
He did because he knew I needed to do what I was doing.
Sometimes, I think we as disabled people can lose our way - always being the person receiving, never being required to give back, to contribute, to make ourselves necessary. The only antidote to the addiction created by receiving is giving. I need to take that antidote. And even though, Joe walking along side a fat guy in a wheelchair covered in bags, may look as silly as a little dog pulling along someone a hundred times his size, it doesn't matter.
Because I need to feel like I'm helping out.