Community is something we tend to brush off, as if it was not important. Whether that is a community at the gym, a bible study, or a group of school friends, they are valuable and life-giving. You may not realize how important a community is until you’re going through a life shattering event. They’ll remind you you’re not alone in this world. If it wasn’t for my community in 2012, I would not have had the support I needed to transition into the craziest lifestyle a wheelchair brings. Six years later, I believe a community is more valuable as you grow. I’ve learned that it’s wise to have a community of other spinal cord injury (SCI) friends where you can share ideas, help each other cope, and laugh/complain about able-bodied people abusing handicap parking.
For me, it took a while to be comfortable with “wheelchair friends.” I didn’t want it to seem like I was accepting my condition or I was giving up in my recovery. I let those lies blind me instead of realizing how a group of wheelchair users could benefit my life. Through time, I met amazing people at my physical therapy. The change was uncomfortable but these new friendship even improved my independence by learning from them.
Truthfully, ever since I let those guards down i’ve become proud to be friends with wheelchair users. Honestly, it’s nice to have someone understand what you’re going through. My parents will never understand it, my brothers will never understand it, my best friends will never understand it, but my wheelchair friends can. It’s nice to notice that I’m not alone. So If going through a difficult season of life and you feel like you’re alone, find a community you can connect with. Maybe it’s through a small group at your local church, a hobby, or at your physical therapy place like mine. It’s important to connect with the world but also connect your world with each other. You are not meant to go through life alone.