Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Grace, Ableism

RantWoman has been:

--slacking off in her job of making bigger space for people with all kinds of disabilities (That is ONE of the jobs that seems to come unevenly to RantWoman)

--cataloging still more flavors of Grace than all the different senses and word clouds represented in reflection papers

--Getting distracted from relentless pursuit from the One True Path to Grace by things like chatter about toddler grandchildren and customs about group interaction evolving as different strands of Friends interact.

--extending Grace whether she means to or not.

RantWoman is home from the Ninth Pacific Northwest Quaker Women's Theology Conference. RantWoman originally was not going to go. She was not charmed with the theme. She was not feeling gracious, graceful, grateful or even necessarily terribly presentable to the public. RantWoman is humble about getting tracked down by the planning committee and offered financial aid. RantWoman is humble about the "make your own hours" aspects of her work and otherwise scary economic life that enable her to take several days for such events. Once RantWoman registered, she started reading all the papers and, cough, got sucked in! Probably it was still a good thing that God also showed up along with RantWoman.

RantWoman's first opportunity to fly off the handle occurred almost as soon as she showed up. RantWoman has been to the conference venue before, most recently when she was walking around with multiple moderate-sized gas bubbles in her eye and a "my doctor got paid to do that to me" bruise all over her face. RantWoman's eyesight definitely has not melted down badly enough to keep RantWoman from really a lot of independent mobility. RantWoman is VERY grateful for this, especially because it means RantWoman basically knows her way around the conference site.

RantWoman's legs and feet work just fine thank you very much and RantWoman prefers to keep them in working order by regular walks, climbing stairs.... So RantWoman was, cough, NOT charmed to learn that both her housing and her Home group had been assigned--WITHOUT CONSULTING RANTWOMAN--on the basis of assumptions about mobility problems. RantWoman considered the option of flying off the handle about this. Luckily RantWoman was so deeply soothed by an afternoon of waterfalls and views of the Columbia Gorge that RantWoman decided just to take responsibility for her own darn large muscle movement needs and to see ....

RantWoman discovered that she really liked her roommates. RantWoman discovered that she really liked the women in her home group. RantWoman's Home Group just laughed when RantWoman complained about people around her thinking she does not know when to quit. RantWoman is about to quit apologizing for this. RantWoman is a Quaker. RantWoman is becoming clearer by the day that when faced with comments to the effect that RantWoman does not know when to quit, RantWoman should simply say "Thank you!"

RantWoman's Home Group never accepted RantWoman's invitation please just to feel free to tell her to Shut up. On the other hand, they rearranged seating and made a point of speaking up for multiple members with hearing difficulties. They laughed VERY hard when another group member picked up RantWoman's acknowledgement that her capacity to appreciate that of God within others improves dramatically in the presence of chocolate. RantWoman discovered other people able, based on knowing someone else with severe vision issues, to talk serious blindness minutia. This is the kind of blindness minutia that RantWoman in the presence of hopelessly well-meaning gushy novices, is a terribly ungracious tour guide for. This is the kind of blindness minutia that bores other listeners silly even when there is some good reason RantWoman needs to inflict some details on them. RantWoman was grateful just for reasonably knowledgeable questions and respectful listening.

RantWoman loves that her experiences sound encouraging to a concerned grandmother. RantWoman would not mind missing out on one more Blind Person nearly gets run over story. RantWoman is grateful for two flavors of "say yes to love." This story came with exhortations for someone finally to get a guide dog. RantWoman thanks the guide dog owner's Friends for keeping a handle on their own fears and being centered about the guide dog exhortations. RantWoman for instance is really short on grace these days for other people's freakouts in the presence of her realities. RantWoman is RYING to be gracious on account of all this freaks her out too. Okay, RantWoman is trying. RantWoman is also okay about owning that her own interests in walkability and pedestrian-friendly environments are both personal terror and aggravation and "say yes to Love" in memory of someone else.  Maybe that has to be enough for one day.


  1. I think, to be honest, that there are people who see Mr. Thwack and even though it should be obvious that this has no relation to mobility, somehow make the mental leap from cane of any sort to cane for mobility issues. But...blind person gets run over stories? Are these in the same genre as childbirth horror stories??

  2. Hmmm.

    I actually do a lot of things mobility wise that a lot of people with worse vision issues wouldn't even try. I think I am supposed to count my blessings.

    One of Ambassador Thwack's main functions seems to be sowing confusion. For Instance, Ambassador Thwack escorts me to the counter at (urk) fast food place. Perhaps it blows staff minds that I accomplish this independently; for some reason they seldom grok that I cannot read the overhead menus. Nor can they necessarily tell me the specials in English. Sigh.

    I HOPE childbirth stories are more socially rewarding,affirming, acceptable than blind person (nearly) gets run over stories. I get one of those at least once a quarter from my various email lists. It happened to someone I loved.

    These stories are nearly always some unfortunate interaction of human error, built environment, the conditions.... It's not like I can necessarily do anything except be careful and say a prayer for whoever the story is about. I would not mind a different prayer list.