i look at them sometimes and wonder. wonder how they perceive life. do they know they are alive? can they see? hear like i do? can they taste food, enjoy chocolate, drink the sweet nectar that drips off the summers ripened tree? do they notice the wind in their hair, kisses of sunshine on their skin, drips of heaven on their face? is the smile real joy? the crying real emotion? the moaning real pain?
neurologists may say no.
preachers may say yes.
but what do i say?
i say love them. most of the time.
but sometimes the “love them” can’t find an anchor. it drifts into that raging sea of judgment. the sea, angry & gray, where my thoughts are tossed about in swells. the sea that convinces me that science rules: the smiles are random neurological firing, the moaning a sequence of reflexes. the sea, white capped & turbulent, convinces me that they are shells—defunct brains, malformed limbs, hopeless cases of life. i stay submerged in that sea. gasping. drowning. thrashing. until a Hand reach in & scoops me out of the abyss.
the Hand rescues me.
the Hand carries me, pulls me, guides me, pushes me, & wheels me. me—a spiritual shell of a defunct heart & malformed grace. a hopeless case of life. and in that angry sea, the Hand becomes my life boat—pulling me back to the safety of the shoreline.
to finish the race.
that Hand hoped in me & knew that i was more than a sinister case of genetic misfortune.
their malady, physical.
mine, a sinful spirit.
neither fixed by medicine, only the Hand of HOPE.
and it is then that i realize, wet & cold, shamed with the salty drops still clinging to my skin, that me & them?
we’re not so different after all.