Published in the TRU Omega in July 2011
For me, summer is a time of contemplation and reflection. Many people may find this difficult. We are busy with school, work, families, hobbies and other responsibilities. There are a few advantages to being in a wheelchair. I believe that having time to contemplate and reflect is one of them.
Recently I had the privilege of travelling to Maui with a few of my family members. I had the opportunity to absorb the beautiful scenery. The rock formations are majestic and amazing. The calmness of the distant turquoise ocean contrasts the gigantic whitecaps crashing into shore. The gentle breeze brings a sense of relaxation and the warmth of the sun lifts my spirit.
I had the opportunity to experience being in the ocean one day. I loved how my body felt weightless, how the tightness of my muscles left me and how the sand felt between my toes.
I enjoyed watching my one year old nephew experience the ocean for the first time. It was comedic and a joy to watch him get sand everywhere and get gently pushed over by the waves.
One day when I was sitting in my wheelchair sun bathing, a couple of questions came to mind. What do people think when they see me sitting here? Do they feel sorry that I can’t do some of the things that they are doing? That I can’t splash around in the waves? Or are they looking at my body not knowing that I am whole and healthy on the inside?
There are some difficulties that can arise when it comes to travelling with a disability. My normal routine is interrupted and I don’t have access to the equipment I often need to go about my day. There are times when I have to accomplish tasks differently.
I attempt to take in every experience that I have been given. My family and I went on a boat trip to the islet of Molokini. While they went snorkeling, I waited on the boat. Some people may think I would be upset about this but I have learned to find happiness in every situation. Don’t get me wrong it is not always easy. I struggle with this on a daily basis but this time I enjoyed mingling and interacting with the people coming on and off the boat. Once, a crewman was nice enough to rush me over to a window just in time to see a turtle poking his head out of the water. On two separate occasions, I witnessed beautiful rainbows spread across the sky, reminding me to be grateful for what I have and take in every moment.
I appreciate the time I have to reflect and being in a different environment reminded me to make the most of those times every day. I am encouraged anew to ponder the tough questions that sometimes run through my mind and not take anything for granted.