A Lesser Person
Is my child less of a human being because of some plastic and metal encasing her legs?
Two acquaintances passing in the hall. A chance meeting. As conversations often go, we turned to "family talk ". I asked about your new grandson, you inquired about my choice of school for my son. We chatted lightly, swapping stories, and I asked about your newly married daughter. You asked about mine, new to the dating scene.
My daughter, with a 3.97 grade point average, a bright smile, and childhood cancer in her past. A girl with a solid head on her shoulders, a girl who prays every day. A girl who has shown fortitude and courage each day of her life, navigating things others never have to, learning hard truths that some people are lucky to always remain ignorant of.
Childhood cancer left her wearing leg braces but it never took away her determination. It made her a person who never stops trying. Someone who knows the importance of perseverance. Someone who won't give up. Admirable qualities in an adult, certainly so in a child. You can be certain that she won't be one to back away from a challenge.
"I hope you know," you said to me, in the tone of a wise teacher to a lowly student, "that she's going to have to settle for a lesser person when she gets married."
A roaring noise grew louder and louder in my head. I was rendered absolutely speechless. A lesser person? What exactly is a lesser person? This may just be a language I'm incapable of understanding.
Is my child less of a human being because of some plastic and metal encasing her legs? Because she fought a monster that kills so many and won? Is she lesser because she doesn't fit into the box that you deem acceptable? We all walk this earth as imperfect beings, whether we wear our imperfections on the outside or hide them within us.
Very quietly and with great dignity I responded. "There is no such thing as a lesser person." And I left.
But I walked away with a deep sadness inside of me, crushed that one human being could say that to another. That one mother would think to hurt another that way.
I truly doubt that God in His infinite wisdom labeled anyone a lesser person.
A lesser person. I turned the words over in my mind. "She'll have to marry a lesser person." You didn't hesitate to tell me. I assume by that-a lesser person, you mean people who are strong and determined in the face of adversity. People who know that things don't always come easily, even simple things like climbing stairs and running, and yet have never given up. Or maybe you mean someone who has shown countless others what strength and courage are. Is that what makes a lesser person?
I truly doubt that God in His infinite wisdom labeled anyone a lesser person. One body is no more or less worthy than another, no matter how able – or not – it may be. All bodies and all people have infinite value. Let us all remember that we are all different, and we are all equals. We all have wants and desires, talents and inadequacies. The Creator of the world loves us all, and we all carry within us a small Divine piece of His essence, a part of Himself.
Maybe, just maybe, you will read this and you will understand that I have a lesson to teach you...watch your tongue. Because things happen in an instant and you may one day find yourself in a position you never thought you would be in. And maybe one day you, too, will stand in a hallway, disbelieving, while someone calls your child "a lesser person".