Kids can be cruel, no doubt about it. We don’t always know why we’re born a certain way or have physical attributes that others don’t understand. And, when they don’t understand, they make fun of rather than understanding.
For me, I was born with crossed eyes. It’s a condition commonly known as strabismus. Not only that, but when I was born, my blood type was O+ and my mother’s wasn’t, which at that time, she hadn’t had the shot to prevent rejection, so, when I came out of the womb, I was purple.
After three transfusions and three weeks in the hospital separated from my family, I was finally ready to come home. I can image the doctors, at the time, must have thought my mother gave birth to an alien; purple and with eyes looking in different directions!... Yes, a baby only a mother could love (and that she did…).
It was all uphill from there growing up. I had surgery at the age of five to partially correct the problem, but it didn’t fix it all the way. The result, a childhood filled with kids making fun of the, ‘cross-eyed freak’.
To compensate, I became the ‘class clown’. Every time my friends would punch me, laugh, or mock, I would act out in a goofy way to draw attention away from the real issue. The good thing about being young is that we really don’t understand how cruel our fellow kids in school can be, though.
Eventually, I became an over-achiever and excelled in music. But, one thing I didn’t do until college, was date. Yes, I was that guy who the girls really didn’t know what to think of. I was funny, kind, but…. Yeah.
I remember saying ‘hi’ to a girl I sort of had a crush on during recess in the hallway. She looked at me, paused, and looked behind her. After turning back around, she said, ‘are you looking at, me?’ That was it! I would never date from then on, I thought to myself. Society didn’t act as compassionate then as they do today which reminds me of one of my favorite movies back then, which wasn’t as politically correct as today, by Steve Martin called, ‘The Jerk’ where he invented glasses that caused people to become cross eyed.
Sports were always a challenge for me since, not being able to see in three-dimensions, I had very little depth perception. Music was a natural fit.
It wasn’t until college when I learned crossed eyes were considered a physical defect and my insurance would cover surgery. SO, in 1987, I had three more surgeries to correct my eyes. After that, I hate to admit, I went girl crazy for a while. It was all new to me for a girl to look at me and not wonder if I was looking at her or at the wall somewhere…
It still took years to overcome the insecurities caused by those crossed eyes. The lack of self-esteem allowed for poor choices down the road and the fear of rejection has been a battle I’ve fought for many years.
I’ve often wondered why God allowed my eyes to be that way. But, today, looking back, I’m grateful in a way. I know my life would have been totally different if they hadn’t been crossed. I may have never learned the life lessons I have, made the choice to go to ORU, or met the Mrs. who is my life’s soul-mate.
We all have obstacles to overcome. Some may have a physical disability that keeps them from participating in sports, some may have hearing or visual problems that keep them from learning properly, but, at the end of the day, we’re ALL God’s creation. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.
I want to encourage you today, if you have had to deal with a ‘defect’ or physical disability like I have, to believe in yourself. Trust in the One who made you. You are special and created for a purpose. Sure, I may not be Brad Pitt, but who wants to be?? I mean, really..?!
You are loved just the way you are. God loves us, and accepts us, just as we are. Let go of the fear of man and put your faith in the One who gives life. In that, you will find strength, healing of your insecurities, and the will to live a life free from the fear of rejection. You’re loved just as you are today my brother or sister…
Love always my friends,