Friday, I came to class only to find out it had been canceled (the worst), so I made my way down to the Union to grab an Aloha latte (get one, you won’t be sorry) from the new coffee shop, Hill Coffee Co. I picked a table, took a seat, and started on some homework that had been lingering over my head all week. I was distracted by the scene in front of me: a blind woman walked in. She was struggling to navigate the line, so a kind soul jumped to her aid. I watched as this girl made a conversation with the blind woman as if they were the same. The two women walked past me to a table, and the group of girls sitting next to me caught my attention. They were mocking the blind women. Laughing at her empty gaze, her difficulty navigating, her disability.
I couldn’t help but think, these girls are mean girls. Then, I thought again. There is nothing that tells me these girls are mean girls, but there is plenty that tells me these girls do not appreciate what they have. They can see the blind woman, observe her characteristics, walk through the coffee line with ease, read the menu to pick their drink, and scan the room to find a table where they will all sit and read their books. Things that seem so normal to us, things that are easy.
To be different is the most difficult thing a person can be, in general. But to be different because of something that you cannot control is backbreaking. When we see someone who struggles from a disability, mental or physical, why do we only see the difference? The girl who walked the woman through the line didn’t see the difference. Moreover, the girl saw the difference, acknowledged it, and chose to see the woman.
We don’t know everyone’s story. That woman could have had 20/20 vision her whole life up until an accident that took her sight away. She could know what it looks like to see the waves crash on a beach, to see steam rise from a fresh cup of coffee, or to see girls look at her with judgment. The woman may have been blind her whole life. Either way, her story has made her different not just externally, her story has made her soul different: resilient, determined, and grateful. That is what I wish we would understand when we come across someone different from us.
We all have elements of us that we can’t control. We all have some form of disability. I am too much of a control freak. Some of us are bitter. Some of us are bossy. Some of us are insecure. All of these things change our souls and shape our outlooks. Our decisions are a direct result of that outlook. What is my point? See the person. See the soul. See the heart. See the things that make us the same, not the things that make us different.