Monday, April 22, 2013

Awkward Moment with Priest Because of Disability.

As most people with disabilities, I have to deal with ignorance. Some I have written about. Here is a previous post. As I have aged I let much of it roll off my back. I don't worry about it. You get used to it for the most part. But we are still human and it upsets us sometimes.

Sometimes I find it humorous.  I've seen people, both adults and children, staring at me as they walk not looking where they are going and nearly bump into something or trip. I giggle and think it serves them right.  Hubby sometimes notices and says under his breath, "Take a  picture."

I understand the curiosity. I really do.

I hear adults talking to each other, "Oh like at that poor girl, she is so crippled" etc. I probably could fill a whole book with a collection of what people have said or done. 

Kids are the worse. They are the loudest. They laugh, point and attempt to imitate. Sometimes I want to just go over to them and smack them. But then I remind myself they were not raised properly. It is really not their fault.

For the kids I have come up with some answers. They'll ask in different versions, "Why do you walk funny?" I learn to say, "God made me this way."  Which they don't understand either. Their attention span is so short they move on.

I hate attention to myself immensely. If you read my blog, you know that. 

This past weekend after mass Hubby and I strolled with the crowd to the exit where Father was standing. We just started going back to church and this Priest wasn't there before. 

We make our way and I shake his hand and told him I enjoyed the sermon. It was a great sermon. Then he looks down at my legs and says very LOUDLY, "Oh my! You walk with a limp. What happened to you?" I felt like everyone got quiet and turned. 

Okay, maybe not EVERYONE but some did. It was one of those moments I detest. Everything just blurred. And I am not one to have a quick comeback like I wish I would.

I awkwardly smiled and said"It's just me". 

He continued to stare at my legs, "Your limp is just you? What happened?"

I was not going to stand there and explain to him because 1) There were people behind us waiting for their turn. 2) If I told him he would have no idea what it is anyway. 3) It was one of those moments that I felt very uncomfortable and I was almost speechless. I wanted to run out of there.

The first thing that came into my head would not have been proper to say to a Priest.  So I just responded, "Its the way I walk."

Hubby didn't notice much of it because of the crowd and he sometimes just doesn't pay attention. He was holding my hand but I let go because I just wanted to get away as I could from the scrutiny. 

Later that night, I expressed my feelings to Hubby. He said he heard him but he didn't notice how embarrassed I was. He took it as the Priest being curious. I think he is conditioned as I usually am.

As I thought about it during the night, I because furious and confused. How can a Man of God be so ignorant?  How can this man so blatantly and loudly embarrass a parishioner?

 I talked to my Mom about it this morning. My argument was he is supposed to be the Man of God. He shouldn't have scrutinized me like that. She told me to remember that he is also a Man, a human being with his own faults.

For some reason I can't get that incident out of my head.  I usually brush incidents like that and move on.  I guess because the last person I thought would do something like that was a Man of God.

We won't be going to mass at the church this weekend because we'll be at a retreat. But what about the next time?  

Maybe I should hand him a print out on CP?  I thought about emailing as they do have a site explaining to him my limp and the way he made me feel.   But is it going overboard? 

Why do we, people with disabilities, always have to explain to people why we walk the way we do or why we do the things we have to do with a disability?  To COMPLETE STRANGERS, no less.

I hope you share your honest thoughts with me and if possible, share this post. How would you have responded?  Eventually, I'll get over it.  Did I overreact?  I usually don't ask anyone to share my posts. I figure if you want to share it, you will.  But I would really like as many people's views of the situation as possible. You can agree or disagree, any feedback is appreciated. Thanks in advance.


  1. Well my dear sweet freind., so sorry u had 2 go thru that! At church!! U didn over react!! Ur mom said it rite he is human. But I can't believe the way he handle it! I myself would have a meeting or sumthg. Wit him an tell him how he made me feel, that's jus me! I guess the best thg. Mayb email him so he can understan bou c.p. wow! Ok I usually handle a jokingly fashion. So I not sure wut i'd of said but it would of been funny an he may have beeen embarrsed! Love ya joanna

    1. Thanks so much Joanna! I am still contemplating on sending him an email or handling it another way. I know he probably didn't mean it the way I took it or was intending to embarrass me. However, I would just like to somehow discuss it with him tactfully so he'll THINK next time with someone else. ANd that is one of my main goals, no one to ever go through that. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. I know you are a follower of my blog and I so appreciate it : )

  2. Hey lisa,
    You and i grew up together and I do know alot of your struggles and challenges in life that you have been through. As a child one sticks out was the time that I slapped you and my mother spanked
    As for as what the priest did I do agree with your mother he is a man and he probably didn't mean anything by it just curious. But also as a man of God I think he should have shown you nothing but Gods love and once he got to know you he could have asked you about you condition.We as christians or taught to love everyone,Not to judge or look at them differently. I know you have had many challenges in life some alot of people probably couldn't imagine.I don't hink you should stay upset or let it bother you just hold your head up next time you see him say I have CP look it up or i can bring you information if you dont know what it is and have a blessed day.Show God's love.

    love you Uncle Robert...:)

    1. Hey Uncle Robert! Yea we did and I still don't remember that day you slapped me but it sure did have a profound effect on you. LOL. You see my point very clearly. I think it if he wouldn't have kept at it so loudly I would have reacted differently. But now I will be ready if it happens again. I don't mind people asking if it is discreet and doesn't put alot of attention on me in crowds lol. I've calmed down. Thanks for the advice and I may just take it : ). Love you too!

  3. hey beautiful! i think you should write him an email and let him know how you feel.. that way maybe next time before he loudly asks something to someone, maybe he will think twice on how the person might feel. :-) just my thought! :-)
    i am sorry you had to go through that.
    love ya sweetie!

  4. ugh. don't think my comment posted. idk.
    anyways... i said...
    I think you should send an email letting him know how he made you feel. that way maybe he will realize and understand and hopefully stop and think the next time with someone else.

    love ya beautiful!

    1. I got both of them I now have the comments moderated because I kept getting stupid comments from spammers. But thanks so much. I will take that under advice. I'm still debating what I am going to do. I do want to give that exact point across to him so no one else has to go through it.

      Love you too!

  5. Wow. I'm so sorry you had to deal with that.

    I am not exactly a religious person (but I just recently was ordained), but I'd really expect more compassion and less scrutiny from a Man of the Cloth.

  6. Thanks Tamma! I expected the same. It just shocked me but I'm ready for next time : )

    Congratulations on your ordination!

    1. I wrote a blog post about you with a link to this post.

  7. Maybe he did not realize he was speaking so loudly, it sounds like he was just asking about it. I always try to be careful how I respond to the children I work with. But if I am having an off day and they are having an off day, then maybe I may come across as boisterous or loud. I mean just finishing up Mass you are usually pretty keyed up. He just consecrated a piece of bread into the body of Christ and had to create and share a sermon/homily with a room full of people. I would cut him a bit of slack but someday down the road mention that in your case and many others it is best just to let it go.
    I have asked students parent's what happened or what is wrong, just out of concern. It is only because I want to help I know my heart is in the right place, but do the parents feel I am addressing their issues in a perfect manner, I have no idea. It is a risk I take in 20 plus years of teaching. If I fail, I fail, but it is only with a heart of concern and a need instilled in me to help;
    The best route as a Christian is to walk the walk of Jesus. His walk is your only concern. What would he have done. He would have forgiven and broke bread with the priest despite even more serious faults then asking about your walk or health.
    I love someone who has a funny walk, not in a funny way, but in a friend way. She is one of the dearest friends I have in California. If this had happened to her, I would have spoken to the Pastor myself. And will gladly do the same for you.


    1. Pam, thanks so much for your insight and advise. You've touched my heart saying you were willing to stand up for me. Your friend is so lucky to have you.

      If he had asked in a more discreet manner I would not have been so uncomfortable and embarrassed. I probably would have responded better.

      I have Faith that when you ask the parents, you do it in a professional and discreet manner, nothing like the Pastor.His intentions were curiosity. Nothing wrong with that but there is a way and place for everything.

      I have prayed and asked God to help me resolve this struggle. He has answered me during a weekend retreat I took with Hubby and I am so ready to speak to the Pastor. Thanks again. BTW I checked out your site..Awesome..I am now a follower!


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