Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Imported from Xanga

i don't like to dote on the idea that having nager syndrome makes me special or worthy of some sort of particular pity or sympathy, because i don't think that's the case.  my nager syndrome, especially in recent years, is so mild that it's practically non-existent (barring some vivid memories of sixteen not-always-pleasant surgeries and a few health issues). 
but sometimes it's the ones we love most that hurt us most. 
somewhat recently, this summer i believe, i visited some longtime friends (almost my godparents) of my parents with them.  i have spent much of my life traipsing around their yard and swimming in their pool, pouring my heart out... and so on. 
i feel like i'm having a hard time putting the words together, so if this seems a little helter-skelter, i'm sorry.
look, i'll be the first to admit, having a bit of a hearing impairment can make things somewhat difficult.  but it's not been that bad... and my speech is not the greatest, but it has improved vastly over the years.  right now, from where i'm sitting, i am now past the point where it's going to stand in the way of my accomplishments.  i may have to work a little harder in some aspects, but most people don't hold these things against me, or if they do, they're tactful enough not to say so. 
mom told me later that they were discussing me (yay, i just love when people discuss me out of my presence, especially critically).  her friend ____, whom i consider almost another grandmother, kept insisting that they should be getting me hearing aids so my hearing impairment won't hold me back... and all this was supposedly based on their observations, actually using the word handicapped.  i'm forever grateful to tracy, her granddaughter, who may be not making the best choices in life, but she has been like a dear cousin to me, and her words could not have been kinder.  she confronted her grandma and said, "niki is one of the most intelligent and kindest people i know.  she is far from handicapped and will probably make a big mark on the world.  she doesn't need to be held down by the handicap label."  ok, that's not word for word, and i think it's entirely too generous of her, but it's the gist of what was said and implied. 
look, it doesn't bother me (much) when strangers make judgments about my differences.  big deal.  if they don't have the patience to occasionally repeat themselves or listen to what i'm saying, then that's fine.  it's their choice.  what hurts like hell is when lifelong friends who think they know me try to 'help' me by putting labels on me that new people don't even imagine putting on me.  it's only the ones who watched me grow up who seem to hold on to this idea that i must be 'different'... usually, anyway. 
hey, i don't know how much sense this made, especially to those of you who don't know me well.  but i'm sick of labels, i'm sick of being 'different'... well, at least because of some kind of birth defect.  i'm glad to be different because of my faith and because i want to follow Christ wholeheartedly, and because i'm willing to forsake worldly success to bring His awesome news to others... but i don't want to be different because of a so-called handicap.  i don't have a handicap.  i have 80% of my hearing (averaged out)... if i take the time, i can speak almost completely 'normally'... and yeah, i may never be able to run a marathon because of a small airway, but really, that's unimportant. 
my life's work is going to be ministry.  it's going to be a question of whether or not you see Jesus in what i say and do.  that's going to define whether or not i'm successful.  a minor speech or hearing impairment cannot and will not stand in the way.  after all, even if i had no physical defects, i would be completely incapable of doing this on my own.  i can only serve Christ through Christ.  and when i am weak, whether physically or otherwise, and i acknowledge His lordship and let Him do the work, then it doesn't matter whether i can hear or speak well.  He's going to do it anyway.  so don't tell me that i need to be 'helping' myself to 'succeed'... because i don't.  i've got all i need to succeed in every way that matters: i have Christ. 
everything else is just details.

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