Why was I born this way?" I cried on my daddy’s shoulder. Tears flowed from deep within my soul releasing a sorrow I had not realized was there as a 12-year-old girl. My skinny frame shook as I tried to catch my breath.
“I don’t know why you were born this way, but I knew this day would come,” Dad softly spoke as Mom’s sublime presence saturated the room. My brothers and sisters had gone off to school without me; my desk in my sixth-grade class would remain empty. I needed to deal with this important issue today and it would not be put off.
I call that day in 1968, my “Day of Crisis.” Dad and Mom wisely allowed me to express my raw emotions. No easy answers were offered; no Bible verses were quoted that day. I needed to experience the pain and realization that I would never be like everyone else. I knew that I would always look and feel different from others and would invariably be gawked at, ostracized, pointed to, or questioned: “What’s wrong with your arm?”
How many sets of eyes jerked away when they noticed I saw them staring? On that particular day, I came head-to-head with reality. My life would indeed be different from that of my brothers and sisters and I would have to live with that, like it or not.
Although I did not realize it at the time, Dad’s grief surpassed my own. When I was born without my left forearm and hand, Dad immediately believed he was to blame. He knew he had led a sinful life, and even though he had come to repent and been saved, he felt his sins had somehow been so great that they caused my disability while I was growing inside my mother’s womb. Dad believed that his little girl was suffering because of him.