Here we were on this lovely cruise. We were well fed, well taken care of, in an accessible room, relaxed, sunning, entertained, reading, … But, yet, as I read my book, I was tearing up for the second day. The book was historic fiction set near the end of the Civil War and slavery, written from the viewpoint of the slaves. I have read plenty of books about slavery, slave trade, Nazi suppression of Jews, Dutch suffering when caught for hiding the Jews, Japanese Internment camps, Native American suffering based on the US government’s broken promises and white western expansion, … lots of books about some of the worst examples of humanity. Why were the tears continuing to stream down my cheeks while reading this book, I wondered?

The slaves in this book kept supporting each other with promises from God. Promises like “his eye is on the sparrow” sustained those who were suffering. They had faith that, in the end, God would provide Glory. Eventually it dawned on me. Now that I am living in a wheelchair, I feel imprisoned in a body that no longer works. I have a small sense of what it must have felt like for slaves. In a way, I was like them with no way out of my paralysis, here through no personal choice, benefiting from the love of family who also had no ability to change my situation, … I thought I had always felt empathy for others. What I felt in the past wasn’t as real as it was now to feel the pain of others in similar groups.

Maybe the worst hurt came when I realized that a then-Presidential candidate was mocking others with handicaps like me. Not only did he think it was funny and ok to mock us (or anyone), but he did it while trying to impress and earn the support from voters who also thought it was ok. And, it wasn’t only those of us with handicaps but other groups were purposely targeted and disenfranchised.

Another realization was “in my face.” There was not one excursion off the ship in any of the six countries included on the ship itinerary that was wheelchair accessible. I was told by ship staff that one particular city we visited, of over a million people, did not have one bus in the city that was accessible. How challenging it must be for those with handicaps in such countries. It made me grateful for the many people before me who fought long and hard for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Fair Housing Act (FHA). I also wondered what America some people wanted us to go back to when America was greater than it is now. Prior to ADA or prior to more fair civil rights?

I am reminded of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” I pray for America, Americans, and our leaders. Jesus ate with Samaritans and tax collectors. Our command is to love others as ourselves. Isn’t that how we work to help His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven?

Give thanks for your many blessings.

Shalom, Collene


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol Ketterer
    Dec 03, 2016 @ 16:11:52

    Love this, Colleen!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Donna Seney
    Dec 03, 2016 @ 17:24:11

    We have often noticed how hard it is to travel in other countries. We always talked about how different it is from the US. Safety issues for handicapped, children, and older adults are obvious. We even can not understand how hard it is to live here in big cities if one has any issues or is older living alone. What book were you reading??

    Sent from my iPhone




    • FastHugs
      Dec 04, 2016 @ 12:50:14

      “All Things New” by Lynn Austin, another of hers I had just finished in the same vein is “A Light to My Path.” Genre: Christian Non-Fiction. Many Chr. authors struggle to be a good story teller. Lynn A is the exception. You want her book to continue because you’ve gotten to know the characters so well.



  3. Elly
    Dec 03, 2016 @ 21:20:41

    It was difficult to breathe while reading this post. None of us can empathize with your life, in spite of our enduring love for you. All I can do is continue to fight with you — against inaccessibility and small-minded thinking and in favor of enlightenment.



  4. FastHugs
    Dec 04, 2016 @ 12:51:58

    Thank you, it will take a lot of us continuing to build upon the work of others.



  5. cruiseplannersctwv
    Dec 21, 2016 @ 20:15:52

    Wise words ma’am.



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