Children with disabilities are often seen as a burden even by their parents. Recently a parent said to me that his son is a burden to him. His child has Cerebral Palsy. I said to him that even though my daughter has Cerebral Palsy, I do not see her as a burden. We argued a bit on that and I let it go.
Friday, we got a visit from Nma just before the Center closed. She has not been for a while, she showed her disappointment that Ziim does not seem to be improving in leaps and bounds compared to other children like Amina, Promise and Ayo. I made effort to explain to her the condition CP, within the limits of my little understanding; that each child is affected differently, depending on the severity, the apparent response to intervention varies. A number of “variables” do come into play; the cause, weather or not the child has seizures, and a lot more other things. With a big sigh and that “pity look”, she said that it must be a big burden for to take care of Ziim. I asked her if it is a burden for her to take care of her children. No, she responded. Then why should my taking care of my child be a burden? Nonye you understand now. No I do not. In the spirit of the day’s feast, I told her that I choose to see Ziim’s condition as my cross and that is how I have taken it. (Friday was the feast of holy cross).
This brings me to the big question, how do you see my child for me? Burden? Cross? It is all a question of choice. Recently, a friend looked me in the face and said that Ziim remains unhealed because I lack faith, that if only I can but believe she will be healed!! She even tried to quote from the bible to support her fallacy. I let her run her mouth for it is her choice what she says with it. I know that the teaching of the cross is not a good business, sometimes not logical. But for one who professes to be a christian, I take the teaching seriously for it is in doing so that I make meaning out of the things I go through in life. If I fail to see Ziim as my cross in life or one of them, I will be frustrated and depressed. let me quickly say that I did not start off on this station, I arrived here after years of seeing her as a burden—–a source of great distress and frustration. It took me a while to understand the significance of Ziim as a cross in my life, as a sign that will lead me and hopefully some people to God. For when Christ urged us to pick up our crosses and follow Him, it is an invitation to learn the purpose of His life which is to deny one’s self and live in the interest of others.
Hard? Sure it is, very hard. But the beautiful thing is that the journey is never a lonely one, there is always a crowd out there on your way. Each person in the crowd has different reason for being there; there is the group that are there to boo you, waiting for you to give up, they are those that constantly point me to institutions where I can go keep Ziim and visit her occasionally. Some genuinely empathize with you offering help each time you arrive at the third station or the sixth one. I recognize them from the way they wipe my face by the assistance they render us and call on others to take interest in CpCenter.
Cross? Yes, that is what she is to me for I know that one day I shall celebrate, I shall exchange her for a price, the ultimate which is eternity!