Thursday, October 5, 2006
Friends don't let quadriplegics light candles alone....
It's true. Because of my arm and hand impairments, I'm not safe near open flames.
A few years ago, several of my wheelchair tennis friends and I were in New York city near St. Patricks Cathedral. We went inside to pray for a few moments and , on the way out, I rolled near the candles to light one.
My friend asked "What are you doing?"
I said "I'm going to light a candle," as I knocked over several things with my paralyzed arm.
"Do you think that's a good idea?" she asked.
"What do you mean?"
My two friends exchanged the superior look people get when their arms and hands are not paralyzed. Then one of them said "I'll help you if you want to light a candle."
As if I am five years old! "No,thank you," I replied. "I promise, I will not burn St. Patrick's down. It would be too - embarrassing."
"I can see the headlines now," muttered my other friend. "Quad burns down famous church trying to prove she can light a candle."
"Look, you two," I said, lifting my arm and attempting to prove that I could, indeed, light a candle by myself, "I'll be fine. You're making me nervous. Just go outside or something."
"I don't feel right about that. I am Catholic and somehow leaving you here alone near flames seems like- wrong."
"I used to go to Catholic church with my parents," said my other friend. "I don't feel right about letting you burn down a church either."
So I capitulated. I let my friends light the candle for me.
I suppose it was kind of a sneaky way to bring a few Catholics back into the church to celebrate a ritual. I knew all along I would need their help.
Posted by Ruth