Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Journal: Are there wheelchairs in heaven?

This morning, I caught the tail end of a commentary on NPR by Ben Mattlin. Mattlin's a lifelong quadriplegic, and spoke about attending a funeral for a friend who, while also a quad, ended up there as a result of a motorcycle accident. At the funeral, there was talk about how Mattlin's friend was, in death, freed from his wheelchair; how, in heaven, he was restored to his pre-injury body, he was "in a better place." Mattlin was stung- did they mean that his friend was better off dead than in a wheelchair?

Mattlin notes that people who become disabled often find that they experience a depth and intensity to life that they didn't feel pre-disability. I'm probably one of those people. But if offered the choice, would I trade depth and intensity for good health? Absolutely.

What does that mean about my view of disability? For all of my convictions about rights of the disabled, about the worth of a person who is disabled, I have to admit that I see myself as something less than a whole person. Because of MS, there's something missing, something that used to be there that isn't any more, and that hole isn't filled by depth and intensity.

Is this a problem?

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