Sunday, August 31, 2008


I listened to a sermon today and of course I can't remember the context of the whole thing, or maybe even the whole point. But what I am still taking away with me is the context of groups. Everyone has a group, or groups, to which they belong. Even within a group, there can be subgroups. So, a church is in essence a group, and within each church are groups of members who relate to each other and thus form subgroups. And partially the idea of a church and other places is to reach out to the community, or within the church, to people you don't know or new members, so as to not be so group-oriented.

In my world, I've always been on the outskirts of several different groups. Now, I'd say my biggest focus is in the disability arena, so that could be a group of people who have MS, or people who have disabilities. Now, if I want to go out and broaden that group, or to reach out and make it a part of mainstream society, we are just not there yet. So many people who do not have disabilities simply don't "get it." Often times, I feel like we are MIA, so if we are to join with mainstream society, that won't work--we're forgotten. Then I feel like I must fight for understanding and inclusiveness--where are we in advertising? Where are we in mainstream media? We are invisible, so how can we take our small, unrecognizable group, and merge it with something bigger.

First, we need our group more recognized. So when I go skiing and handcycling, instead of people staring or gawking, we need to feel part of "the crowd." While some may not view this as being recognized, it is, in its own sense. Then we have wonderful people who are volunteers who often make our lives as athletes possible, and they perhaps bring us closer to being included in mainstream society. And then, beyond the volunteers, then we need to be seen as included in mainstream society. Until then, I think our group is important, and needs to remain as its own entity.

Another part of this is understanding. No one "gets" what it is like to be in another's shoes. But within disability, there is more understanding. Someone else who uses a wheelchair certainly can relate to me using a wheelchair. Someone who uses a wheelchair will probably best be able to coach me. And so I guess I don't want everyone else involved, especially when they they don't really get it. So can our group expand to be more mainstream? Yes, hopefully. When? Who knows. That is a good question. If anyone saw the Home Depot commercial during the Olympics, you saw inclusiveness. That, I suppose, would be the aim.

God, please help us all to "get it," when it comes to other cultures.

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