I have almost forgotten to define the word, "independence" after a decade of being confined to my wheelchair. With my seemingly limited mobility, living alone and devoid of any help from other people seemed unimaginable!
I miss those days when I can tread the populated stores of Araneta Center for instance - of unconsciously spending many hours in National Bookstore; captivated with the shelves of books and novels I wished were mine and fascinated with the perfumed stationery, colorful trinkets and gel pens that abounded. I miss walking so slowly along the pavements where Dunkin Donut outlets were situated as I inhaled the aroma of the freshly baked donuts and the newly brewed coffee. Most of all, I long for the moments when I craved for Jolly hotdog, purchased it by myself and leisurely sat amongst the sea of people, enjoying every bite and my aloneness.
The advent of my paralysis, I deem in this age and time, is not that arduous after all. Indeed, I have experienced eating my dinner and brushing my teeth while lying flat on my back, having sponge baths for 12 months, wearing adult diapers for 9 years, the inability to go out without a chaperon and the many bouts of depression. The transition from an able-bodied to a paralytic was all-together a perplexity, a melancholy and a blessing-in-disguise. The transformation, however, was never hurried. It was a metamorphosis I would marvel at over and over again, allowing myself to explicitly grasp life to its fullest.
2006 is a year of rejoicing. The myriad baby-steps I have had and have courageously mustered have accumulated to great achievements and my reorientation to being independent.
Our good Lord is wonderfully amazing! My partnership with Him has liberated me from the shielded and apprehensive life I once had. It has enabled me to literally live away from home and explore the insurmountable things I can do, achieve and aspire for. All throughout these years, my faith has blossomed into a mustard plant as I learned to lift up to Him all my uncertainties and anxieties. Most importantly, I am no longer afraid to be forever confined in my wheelchair.
People smile at me. I smile back. I am a paraplegia and my name is Farida.
With my nephews and niece
I used to be an able-bodied until my family and I met with a vehicular accident that fractured and dislocated two levels of my spine on December 30, 1996. After I was operated on, my lower limbs became paralyzed and I use the wheelchair full time ever since. I was at the height of my youth when this occurred, about to graduate from college and was enlisting the myriad plans I wanted to do then.
After making myself strong, I went back to school, pursued graduate school and started working. I would never experience God’s amazing grace if not for my acquired disability. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Corinthians 12:9)