I got to be the giver. For the first time in my life, I got to be the person on the other side of the hospital bed.
Instinct had me scrambling to be in the place where my friend was, the kind of place I had nearly given my life to and that gives breath to my nightmares. This kind of place could send me into a tailspin of allergic reactions, inflammation, and agony.
Entering a hospital carries potential emotional hazards as well as physical ones for somebody in my current state of healing. But the trepidation that customarily consumes me when I approach the emergency room for my own health reasons was uncharacteristically absent this summer.
Throwing myself into the unknown for the sake of another has been an entirely uncharted adventure of self-discovery. Who knew my years of slogging through the trenches of my own illness would bring me here?
To make a long story short, over the summer, I experienced the sacred privilege of being the friend who shows up when tragedy unfurls. In this unprecedented role reversal, I became the friend I’ve waited for, the somebody perched on the other side of the hospital bed, stumbling forward into the unpredictable. I stopped waiting for the kind of friend I’ve ached for and became that person.
My unrelenting desire to be the giver replaced my post-traumatic stress disorder and sense of brokenness, and stretched across the landscape of the hospital room. For the first time in my life, I offered something to another person in need. Wow! I never knew I had been waiting to give so intensely of myself in order to become whole again.
As an individual with a disability, I’ve often been made to feel I will perpetually be a burden, that I’m somebody to be given to, but never one to bestow pearls of significance upon others. I’ve learned over the past season of insatiable heat that I am worthy not only of receiving love, but also of offering it to others who graciously accept it.
Each time I board the elevator, retrace the shellacked floors in my scuffed-up boots, and return to my friend’s room, I am embracing the present. I’m gaining confidence from knowing that whatever I have to give in any moment can be enough. Entwining my fingers with his, time and again, I’m reminded that to give love is to let it in.
Note: Cerebral Palsy News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disorder. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cerebral Palsy News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cerebral palsy.