Today I notified HR that I have a visual disability and am going to be participating in the Job Save program. There is no going back now. It was one thing when my immediate boss knew about my vision. She knows my work and values me. It is a different thing to let the “big bosses” know. I feel vulnerable, afraid, sad.
It’s not that I think I will be fired. A person who is doing her job and has an identified disability AND is in a state jobs program is probably not going to get fired. Nazareth is a great employer. But I am not naive. I feel as if my value as an employee dropped the minute I admitted my disability.
It’s as if my worst job fears have come true. Instead of being seen as a valuable, productive employee, I am so afraid that I will be seen as invisible, incompetent, faulty. I understand the word “disabled” in a new way today. I feel like I am going to be seen as dis-abled from doing my job. I think the worst part is that I am beginning to doubt my own value as a person. I feel……frail.
The song Frail by Jars of Clay suits my mood perfectly. The melancholy tone of the song matches my feelings. And the lyrics are appropriate.
If I was not so weak
If I was not so cold
If I was not so scared of being broken
I would be…
I would be…
I would be…
Tonight, I am filled with fear about the future – especially about my ability to do work that somehow makes the world a better place. Will I use my fears and my low vision as an excuse? Will I say “I could do great work if I could see.” “I could do something important if I had good eyesight.” “I could accomplish more if my vision was not deteriorating.” If I was not so scared of being broken, growing old, I would be….
Luckily, that is not how the song ends. I do not have to hide behind excuses. I do not have to go to sleep tonight holding on to the fears of the day.
Exposed beyond the shadows
You take the cup from me
Your dirt removes my blindness
Your pain becomes my peace
I do not have to be alone in my fear and self-pity. I can lean on Jesus, whose gospel tells me that I can bring a message of love to the world not in spite of my low vision but because of it. The wonderful mystery of Christ is that it is in our vulnerability that God’s love and glory is revealed. It is through faith in the cross that my vision loss becomes, not a handicap, but a blessing. It is in my weakness that the divine mystery can use me to show grace. I must rise above my fears about work remember the value I have in the eyes of God. If I can trust God enough to allow myself to be vulnerable, to embrace the weakness of my low vision dis-ability, then I am in a position to allow God’s grace to flow through me.
If I was not so weak, If I was not so cold, If I was not so scared of being broken, Growing old, I would be… I would be… I would be… Frail.