Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Call me the squeaky wheel.

Once upon a time I lay in bed at night dreaming of all the things I could become. My world was limited -- I loved how my Mother could make women beautiful with her career as a hair stylist AND she got to talk all day long! It seemed a glorious job in my childhood. But from my earliest days she forbid me to even consider it. "I don't want you standing on your feet all day every day," she said. So I dreamt of being a doctor or a nurse, maybe a lawyer. By the time I reached high school, I had crossed several of those options off my list. I was back at the step where I wanted to talk, and communicate and spread the news. I decided to major in journalism.

I will never forget how grateful I felt stepping onto Mississippi State University's campus. Oh my goodness, I was so thankful for the opportunity to go to college, study my field of choice and find a path for my future. My only obstacles were the limitations I would place on myself if I didn't study hard enough, or apply myself in the right arenas.

That gratitude is written all over my Benjamin's face. He rolls onto the campus at Belhaven University and just smiles all over (full disclosure....he doesn't smile when he heads to his math requirement.). He is grateful for the opportunity to study what he is passionate about -- theatre -- with a group of students who are equally passionate. He engages in the classroom. He works hard on his assignments. And he is striving to achieve the goals that he has dreamt of in his own bed at night.

But Benjamin's obstacles aren't limited to his own personal ability to work and study. His obstacles aren't limited to whether or not he applies himself or not.

No. There are real obstacles in his way and frankly they are obstacles that are stupid and make me so mad I could scream.

His obstacles look like this:

And this:

And this:

And you will forgive me for posting about them YET AGAIN but this week has been another one where we have driven up to find the ramp completely blocked by not only students but Belhaven's own maintenance staff.

We are walking a tight rope you see. We are so grateful for the opportunities being presented to Benjamin at this amazing school that we tread lightly. He doesn't want to make anyone upset or frustrated with him. I understand. Nevertheless, yesterday I did call the president. I left a message. He hasn't called me back. Benjamin was not sure that was the right thing to do. Gratitude colors his world much more brightly than indignation does. And I am grateful for that. I am. But...

Track with me, please. What if the door to your building was blocked today and you had to traipse around half a block or more to find a door that opened? What if tomorrow your normal door AND the one you found open yesterday are blocked and you have to search for yet another point of entry? What if this happens again. And again. And then the next day it happens to you in two different buildings. And the next day again.  I think you would start to feel some of my frustration. I think the indignation might begin to supersede the gratitude. Because let's face it, you can not do your job, or in Benjamin's case reach your dreams, if the tools you need, the education you seek are all locked in a  building to which you have no access.


Ramps can only offer access if they are not blocked. Buildings can only be entered if one can reach the door -- and it is unlocked.

Will you help me raise awareness? I know I sound like a broken record. But when the tools for Benjamin to reach his goals are within reach, I am going to stand here screaming until the barriers are removed and people THINK before parking in such a way that they prevent access to the ramps that will carry him through the doors to those dreams!

Carol - The Blessings Counter


Hi, I'm Susannah! said...

Oh wow! That must be so ridiculously frustrating! It's so hard to see people not respect those who actually need the wheelchair access!