Turning 50

By Scherrone Dunhamn

Miss Dunhamn presents a rare and candid view of the combination of mental and physical disability.

I’m turning 50 in less than 2 weeks and I’m so grateful to see 50 yrs.  You see, when I was born, I was in the NICU for weeks.  My mom retells the story how my Grandfather asked her if she wanted him to take the crib down. My mom said, “No”- she knew her baby was coming home.    As a teen and until my early forties I had another type of life and death issue. I struggled with feelings of desperation and suicidal urges at least a few times a month.  It’s amazing to me that I made it through. Just 8 yrs ago God guided me to the right combination of supports so that I can stay in the light.  This is a miracle.  I’m convinced if I had hands that functioned as we expect hands to, I would have attempted to end my life either in my teens, twenties, thirties, or early forties; and one of those times I could have succeeded. I’m giving thanks to our God to be here.  And, God said to me, “Look no hands.”

To me, it’s amazing that our Triune God has always enabled me to say, “Look, no hands”.  I cannot meet most of my physical needs. I rely on others so much. Surely, I’m primed to live in a facility. I can say, “Look, no hands” to be living in my own place.

I have always had employment.  Do you know what a gift this is?  The unemployment rate of people with disabilities, like me is 70%.   I need another person to work with me, so that I can work.  I was 20 when the Americans with Disabilities Act passed. Without this law, I doubt my employer would have hired an assistant to help me get my job done as well as help me with personal care. Yes, I can say this is the law working the way it’s supposed to.   I also say, “Look, no hands.”

I cringe when hearing we are Christ’s hands and feet in the world until he returns. Well, sometimes I think it’s funny.  I say to myself, “This is going to be interesting.” and I say to God, “Are you sure you want me to do this?” Then I trust God gave me the right tools to be His hands and feet. He is the reason I can enthusiastically say, “Look, no hands” and thrive.  Thanks Be to God.