Were You the One?

Costa Rica sunset by Ellie Kuykendall

Costa Rica sunset
by Ellie Kuykendall

“Let us always meet each other with smile,
for the smile is the beginning of love.”       

                             ― Mother Teresa  

Were you the one who stared at me today? I was pulling an oxygen tank behind me. Or maybe I was in a wheelchair. Perhaps I had a birth defect and only had one full hand. It could be that I was the victim of a terrible fire in which my face was badly burned.

It doesn’t really matter which one I was, does it? The question still stands: were you the one who stared at me?

Maybe your children pointed their fingers and laughed, and instead of chastising them gently and explaining that bad things happen to good people, you just pulled them in another direction. Maybe it was all you could do to keep from laughing with them. Was it?

I guess it never occurred to you how much it hurts to have someone point a finger at you and laugh. You’ll probably never understand how much pain I’ve gone through with my disability…it took me quite a while to gather my courage so I could venture out to the dollar store, walk along the mall or enter the grocery store.

There was a time not that long ago when I was in tears. I just couldn’t accept the fact that my life was forever changed. It hurt me that all my plans would never come to fruition. I didn’t understand why I, of all people, had to learn to do life over again — why the simplest chores took so much energy and how I had to allow double or triple the time to do something compared to how it used to be.

I remember those carefree days, when I was roller skating with my boyfriend’s son holding my hand tightly. I can recall how I used to play hide and seek…running was possible then. It isn’t now. It doesn’t seem possible that I once climbed down a steep hill to set up my place for fishing in the reservoir. Oh, how I loved fishing there.

I only have one more question to ask you, and I hope you’ll answer honestly.

Next time you see me, would you hold out your hand, give me a smile, love me with your whole heart through the look in your eyes?

I’m not asking for a handout. I don’t want your money.

But I would really love it if you would look at me with joy knowing that I celebrate living one day at a time. It would mean so much.

If you think you could do this, how about passing this message on to your friends? Maybe they would be willing to treat me the same way too.



Filed under Disability, Health

12 responses to “Were You the One?

  1. This is so moving. May God bless and keep you.

  2. Harry Husted

    You know I love you. Always have. You are always in my heart. I felt like you at one time. Afraid to go out because of my disfigurement. I go out now, but still feel self-conscious about it. Disability is not a fun thing to face. But, since it did happen. I take it in stride and deal with it.

    May God always love and bless you, my dear.

  3. Lisa

    This was such a beautiful, heart-felt piece of writing! I loved it and I love you too! Thanks for sharing your soul with others! It does make a difference and that’s what it’s all about! Take care!

  4. wow. powerful and deeply moving. i’m one of the ones who gets stared at. last night, creeping up to bed in my stairlift, i felt i had to join in the (admittedly) gentle ribbing from the others in the living room as i slowly ascended. i so wanted to stop and tell them that it’s not funny, and that i ache to be able to climb the stairs on my own two feet, that i don’t do it this way for their amusement, and that even their mild jokes hurt. but how can i? so, thanks, ellie, for casting those words into the aether for me. i’ll be back.

  5. jajmh

    Beautiful sentiments beautifully written, Ellie.


  6. Wow! Wow! This is a great one. I know how it is to feel the stare of judgment and condemnation, lack of understanding, and most of all, missing the eyes of compassion. Love to you and thanks for sharing. 😀

  7. I hope my reply doesn’t get eaten by the Zombie FB and the Zombie cyber land. This will be my 3rd try. This is beautifully written Ellie. It is a shame people have to be so cruel and unkind

  8. So thought-provoking and humbling Ellie, thank you for changing the perspective…thereby opening the eyes of more ‘able-bodied’ people.

  9. Dear Ellie,

    This is absolutely heart wrenching and thought provoking. I will surely ensure to teach compassion to my kids. Thank you for sharing.


  10. Ellie this article is beautiful just like you. And you always will be to me.
    May the Lord Bless & Keep You. Love Shirley

  11. Ellie, that’s an interesting photo of the sunset. The circles make me think of angels. Hmmm.

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