Today’s post may seem to have a bit of a contentious title to some, but an interaction a few weeks ago inspired me to write this.  

I had been corresponding with Able Magazine about using one of my posts on their website. I had sent them a few articles and received feedback from the post on “Disability or Handicapped?”.

The editor kindly pointed out to me that the magazine never suggests that people “suffer” from disabilities and that they try to promote the viewpoint that people  “live” with them instead. I totally agree and was very grateful for the insight.

However, it got me thinking about our journey with Heni and the changes that have happened in our lives and things that we have experienced since finding out that she has Edwards syndrome.

We live with Heni’s disability every day… We’ve lived with it for almost 20 years now as best we possibly can. We try to make the most out of life: for us, for her and our other children, BUT it’s been a process and is still an ongoing process of learning how to do that.

At times it’s felt like ‘suffering’. At times it’s been painful. At times it’s been downright rotten; but then at other times there is the joy, the love, the laughs and it’s felt like the biggest blessing that I could have ever been given. Sometimes those emotions come in the same day and some in the same minute (depends on how much of a minx she is being)!

I agree that we have to make the best out of what life throws our way and not be the victim but that doesn’t necessarily make it an easy thing to do or that we get to that point straight away. It’s a journey and for some people it can be a long one!

So is “suffering” a bad word? Everyone who has ever attended an R.E lesson as a child will know the common Biblical phrase that Christ said to the children: “Suffer the children to come unto me.”

Did he mean that the children should suffer?

No… He meant ‘allow’ the children to come to him.

When we look at suffering as ‘allowing’ we can indeed ‘suffer’ our trials. We can allow them to live in us, we can allow them to shape and define us. We can allow them to strengthen and be for our good and for the good of others. Ultimately, we need to allow ourselves the ability to not have to be perfect and get it all right straightaway. Bit-by-bit, step-by-step we take the journey, and if suffering in the ‘negative’ sense of the word is part of that journey then we should allow it to be so. At the end of the day it’s all about how you look at a word. Do you see the positive meaning of it or the negative?

And even if you do see the negative, that’s not such a bad thing is it?

It’s part of the process of acceptance; a process from which you eventually emerge and become, hopefully, able to see the totality of the meaning, and embrace it.

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