Today, as I sat and enjoyed the beauty of Hawaii at Chinaman's Hat, a gentleman walked up to me from about 50 yards away. I was unaware of this, until my friend said, "hey, I think this guy knows you or something." So, I turned my head, and did not recognize the man at all.
"Hi, Jesus Christ told me to come up to you and offer you a prayer to be healed. Can I pray for you now?" When my walk with Christ wasn't as strong, I would have said yes, sitting there listening to someone go on and on about how I'm sick, hurting, broken, etc. Today, I politely declined his offer of prayer and the man wished me a good day and walked away.
The idea that others of faith view me as sick or broken is somewhat baffling. In a world where we have so much diversity, I find it difficult to understand why the sight of a man sitting in a motorized wheelchair, with a service dog on his side, smiling and enjoying life could be viewed as "sick" or "broken."
I believe my quality of life is just as good, if not greater, than the next person. I'm blessed to have a wonderful life; one filled with a great family, good friends, and I love what I do. To me, those components add up to a quality life.
Am I ignoring my disability? No, I am faced with that reality from the moment I wake up and face it again, head on, as I'm being helped into my bed to sleep. However, in those hours that I'm awake, I really don't think about my disability much. But, I'm constantly aware of it; how could I NOT be?! I realize I don't move around like others, I communicate through an augmentative communication device, and I require more assistance with activities of daily living than the average Joe. But, I still try to accomplish as much as I can, each and everyday.
This is not to say that my disability enables me to do greater things. Rather, even with a disability, I'm able to live a great life, which I am extremely thankful for. I'm carrying out my purpose that God has planned for me to the best of my abilities.
As a college student, I would consistently run into people wanting to pray for me. I would oblige, sitting there thinking, "wow, am I really that messed up as they're saying?!" This drew me away from religion and church even more.
However, my faith was renewed after meeting Pastor Norman Nakanishi and Anthony Holyfield through the Hawaii Warrior football team, which they were co-chaplains of. They sat with me weekly, as I asked all questions about God and walking with Him. I accepted Christ into my life in approximately 2009. I've been in wonderful small groups with men of faith and compassion. I've been blessed to share my testimony of faith with others, locally and on the continent. I am a man of faith.
I also truly do not see myself as sick or broken, so my hope is that others will eventually understand, through my actions, that I am not in need of prayer to be healed. I've accepted the cards I've been dealt and will play my hand as best I can.
Until next time...