After attending a Conference in Christeen Retreat Centre, Kottayam, I was waiting for the train to go back to my place. I was at the Railway station sitting on a bench at the first platform. There was a train halted on the track near the second platform. What was written on the compartment opposite to me captured my attention. “For differently abled”. Since I do not travel often by train, and was outside India for some time for Mission work, I was seeing that caption for the first time. First I did not understand what it meant. But soon I realized that it could be the compartment set apart for disabled people. I felt so happy and fascinated to see the writing changed from ‘disabled’ to ‘differently abled’. Yes, even though these less fortunate brethren of ours seem to be handicapped and disabled in our eyes, the fact is that God has given them many skills and talents. The good will and the wisdom of the people behind the change of this phrase should be appreciated!
God loves and honours everyone whom he creates. He is our potter. As He revealed to the Prophet Jeremiah: “Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand” (18,6). He moulds the clay in His hands with much love.
Each one is unique and precious for him. No one is to be despised and rejected. God sends everyone to the world with a mission to fulfill and accordingly he equips one with the needed skills. Helen Keller, though born a healthy child, became blind and deaf because of a sickness which struck her at the age of one and a half year. But she proved so gifted that she learned the fingertip alphabet (Braille). Yes, God gifted her with the necessary talent and skill that she became the champion of the blind. History unfolds a lot of people like this who gave benevolent contributions to humanity through their enthusiasm, confidence and hard work in spite of their handicaps because they submitted themselves to the plan of God and cooperated with His grace. “O Lord, indeed all that we have done, you have done for us” (Is. 26.12). When we give our lives into His hands, out of all our misery and confusion, He changes us into something beautiful for Him and for others!
Once I was in a train (in a foreign country) and there was a group of youngsters who were deaf and dumb. I was much delighted to see them so joyously conveying many things to each other, even cracking jokes with bodily language and with much laughter! I thanked God for giving them that spirit of joy and contentment which we lack many times.
We need to acknowledge the giver of all gifts and blessings. As St. Paul says: “By the grace of God, I am what I am” (1. Cor. 15.10). “Who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?” (1 Cor. 4.7)