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Monday
Sep162013

The Row Reserved For Me

Frustration is passing by a handicapped row filled with able-bodied people at church. That may not be true, hidden disabilities abound. But it is what I felt. I asked the family if they were disabled. I had to ask. I couldn't hold back. The bad Judeo-Christian Neo-Buddhist in me was gagged in the corner and a dark side reared my head. We needed seats for our family. But only one seat remained in this row. I had to ask. Or else have my family pile on top of me in my wheelchair, so they could have a seat.

Of the fifty rows available, there is one long back row specifically for the disabled and their families. This family was not disabled in any way other than spirit. My heart tightened. I became the frustrated disabled person - Mad at who I used to be.

I had done it too. Sat in seemingly unused seats at a show or movie theater because I wanted to stretch my legs. Then someone would enter in a wheelchair, and I would secretly pray they would not choose my seat. They did not ask me to move. But now I know why.

There is such a deep-seeded angst when forced to request what has been reserved for you. A discomfort sets in. We should not have to ask someone else to move, because the handicapped section is not a section that we choose. It is a section chosen for us. Because we have no choice in what we cannot do.

I do not have the option of sitting in the middle row. So I can be closer to God. I cannot stand during songs and keep my arms in the air to express my undying love. I am limited now to praying at church in one specific place. A row reserved for handicapped, so please leave this row for us when you decide to pray.

An usher saw my plight and requested the family to move. But for the entire service all I could think of was how they responded when she did. A deep sigh from the mother, a shaking of the father's head. The children quizzically glanced at my chair, assessing why they were asked to move. To leave these seats their parents chose with the little man in blue. The entire service I felt the echo of their response inside my heart. I had done nothing wrong. But I finally understood why no one asked me to move when I sat in those seats before. Because the energy it causes never goes away. It's not worth it. That's why I never had to move before.

Handicapped seats are for disabled and their companions. Sometimes there is one handicapped seat that stands alone. That chair is for the able-bodied companion with room for a wheelchair next to. Or a string of chairs to fill the space with nobody there. They have thought this seating through with the greatest of care. A row just for us. Who did not choose their chair.

The service ended. I prayed for forgiveness for feeling the way I did. My heart released into the crowded mass of people. I realized in the future I will simply need to arrive sooner to reserve our seats, in the row reserved for me.

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