Author: Binu John
Category: Disability Concerns
September 14, 2006 was a memorable day, not only for Beena and Lavinson, but also for their families and friends. It was a day Beena, Lavinson and their loved ones had hoped for, while many people thought that this day would never come. It was a milestone in their lives.
Beena is a lovely young girl. Seeing her in a crowd, her beauty catches your attention. You may want to look at her more closely and you may even fall in love with her. But the moment you see her walking, your sentiments veer toward a poignant sense of sadness and sympathy.
The Story of Beena
Three years after her birth, Beena caught a severe fever and dysentery which eventually led to polio. Her right leg and her left hand were paralyzed. After many months of medical care, the doctors gave up their hope. Her parents exhausted their financial resources paying hospital bills. There was still no hope. Beena was doomed to become a life long disabled person.
Her parents were anguished as they envisaged her future. Some people advised mercy killing. That suggestion was heart breaking. Unthinkable! Such harsh words and the constant stares Beena received from neighbors caused frustration and anger for Beena and her family. Some people said that a curse had come upon the family. Other sources advised her parents to resort to witchcraft.
In Search of God
The family members of Beena were nominal Christians. Since their top priority was Beena’s healing, her parents tried all possible routes to find a cure, praying to various gods and goddesses to consulting a witch. However, while searching for different gods to help Beena, her family members were introduced to their own old family God who could heal her. As a family they began to trust Him. This time, He became their own personal God. That was the beginning of a great change in Beena’s life. She began to walk slowly, to lift her hand and continued to gain strength. This miracle moved the whole family from the status of being a nominal Christians to becoming genuine followers of Christ.
Sad, but Not Rejected
Seeing Beena with a disability, her parents and siblings were extremely sad, but they did not reject her. Her family was economically disadvantaged so they had their own limitations. Nonetheless, they looked after her the best way possible. She enjoyed the love and affection of her parents and dear ones and grew up in a healthy atmosphere. Parents were careful to make sure that she was not neglected, especially while attending the special functions and family celebrations.
In her school and college, teachers and friends never treated her differently. Her friends had a special concern for her and helped her in drawing water from a well, washing her clothes etc. All this kind help was important for her to feel accepted.
The Shattered Dream
Beena’s parents’ hopes for her began to fade as she became older. She turned 28. Who would marry a disabled girl? Her mother’s tears flowed each time she talked with people about her. Her mother often cried out “Why did God do this to my daughter?” Each time Beena raised the question “Why did you give birth to me?” her mother could not control herself. Beena was a matter of concern for the whole family.
But God did have a plan for Beena. In the month of August, a young man, Lavinson came to see her. This was the first marriage proposal that had come her way. They had a time to see and talk with each other. They liked one another. Lavinson is also a physically challenged young man. But he is more active and is committed to the service of God. He has completed his Bachelor of Theology.
Within a week, the traditional formalities of visiting each house were completed. The families negotiated and they arranged the marriage. It was held in September 14! For those present, it was phenomenal to see two disabled people joining in holy matrimony. The parents and sibling of Beena were short of words to express their untold joy of seeing Beens’a marriage; the young woman whom some people had predicted, “no one will marry her”, though Beena’s parents and siblings never doubted God’s plan.
God had revived their shattered dream into a hopeful reality. Now both Beena and Lavinson dream to surmount their limitations, trusting God to build a beautiful home on earth.
The life of Beena reaffirms the fact that when God creates a person in His own image, regardless of their disability, He will make a way. The word of God to Jeremiah 1:5, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” comes true in Beena’s life too.
Beena became disabled by disease while Lavinson’s disability was due to an accident. He was at his work when he slipped and fell from the top of the building. Immediately he was rushed to the hospital and was given needed treatment. Nevertheless, Lavinson was bedridden for two years. People who came to see this promising young man wished at least if he could survive.
Lying in bed, day after long day, one of those days Lavinson met God and experienced His healing touch. Lavinson decided to serve God if God healed him. God honored his prayer. Each day from then on was a miracle for him and a surprise for the people around him. Now both Lavinson and Beena feel they are no longer disabled, but differently-abled to do what God has in store for them.
Thank God for the people and the organizations working among the physically challenged to enable them to reach their maximum potential in all aspects of their lives. Those who are differently-abled need not our sympathy, but they need our love, respect and acceptance. They need our support. Next time when you see someone with a physical disability, please do not bypass them, but stop them and ask, “How can I help you?” That will make their day!
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