Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Looking At My Toilet

Have you ever been seized by a moment of pure gratitude?

Not for the big things like, life, love, laughter. For these gratitude should be as constant as breath. I'm talking about a moment that is sparked by realization, by seeing something for exactly what it is as well as what it represents, and then being overcome by a wash of gratitude.

I have this from time to time. The first time I really noticed it was when I was driving to work and I stopped at a light. A man with Down Syndrome was walking across the crosswalk holding his girlfriends hand. I felt this immediate and deep sense of gratitude to be living in this time and in this place - I felt a gratitude for all those who came before, who fought big fights, who stood alone in the face of a shitstorm of protest, who came together to change the course of history. Segregated wards would one day become something more, something very different ... city streets and public affection. I was grateful, deeply grateful, to be there in the car seeing history ... years and years of history.

It happened again this morning. I was getting dressed and I looked up and into the bathroom. I saw a tall toilet surrounded by bars on the wall. And, in an instant, I saw it all. I saw the years of uninclusion and the years of unwelcome and the years of structural barriers erected to keep us all out. I saw the marches and the protests and the fight simply to be able to have access to where access had been purposely denied. I thought about what I was doing in this hotel room, getting dressed to go to work, to give a lecture, to be with people. In a town five hours by car from home. But it could have been around the world. People fought so I could have the world.

I felt a deep and personal gratitude for the toilet, the bars, and the people who fought for me to have what I have and live how I live and do what I do. I may, from time to time, feel alone in this world and in this life with a disability, but I only have to look at a cut curb or a ramped entrance to know that I am, indeed, never truly alone.


clairesmum said...

the sacredness of the everyday....and gratitude....thanks for starting my day with this essay, dave.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dave, that was wonderful "toilet talk" :)
I deeply appreciate your willingness to share...yes, I do know what you are talking about...the feeling of gratitude suddenly upon often brings me to tears...with others wondering what's up? Thanks for sharing your freedom, have a great day!

Kimberly said...

And I am grateful for you and all who have paved the way so that our kids in the next generation can benefit from all of that work.

Anonymous said...

Some days you make me cry. Some days you make me laugh. Today you gave me goosebumps.
Thank you.

B. said...

Yes. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

We do live in an age of marvels, made by people.