No matter who you are, or whether you can accept, it’s nice to be invited somewhere.
Mr. Legs and I open our home as much as we can, inviting family and friends for a visit, a meal, dessert, a special beverage, or games and snacks.
We like to receive invitations too. Most people realize my access is limited. I suspect that there are places we aren’t invited to because of my mobility issues. Sometimes people don’t consider that I move on wheels; so when people do extend an invitation to us, my response is a well rehearsed “thank you so much for asking, I’ll see if it’s possible for me to accept”. Getting around on wheels is surely much easier now than it was years ago. Still, I realistically assume that there will be some businesses and many homes I cannot get into. When there’s a question about access, we usually call first, use online resources or scout out the entrance in person from the street to make a best guess. There are still disappointments and I’ve learned to be flexible when plans have to be changed.
It was certainly a surprise when friends said to us “We’d like to have you over for dinner….and we built a ramp so you can get inside”. What??? I thought. Did I hear that correctly? It’s a nice gesture to consider making accommodations. But to actually measure, buy materials, research, construct and put a ramp in place is a gift of love. It says a lot about the people who did this. I was rather overcome and felt honored that someone would do such a nice thing for us. We gladly accepted the invitation and when we arrived, we found entrance to their home to be smooth and easy. It was more than enjoyable to be in their beautifully decorated and interesting house and they treated us very well. We had a lovely meal and visit with these special, generous friends.
And then, it happened again.
A group of friends planned a summer gathering. One family offered to host the rest at their home. I was pleased the group would be meeting together and quickly assumed I would not have the opportunity to attend for accessibility reasons. But not so fast…after the invitation had been given verbally, a set of eyes met with mine and the words “you’ll be able to get in” reached my ears and my heart welcomed the smile that accompanied them. It was thoughtful of them to even think of me and my situation.
Often, well-meaning people overlook a stair or two or some other block to entry, so I had no idea what unforeseen obstacles might await me. I would certainly make an effort to join the group that day but I would be prepared for plans to change. I would be ready to be a good sport about whatever manipulation might be necessary to move me into place. But the day before the gathering, a text showed up on my phone including these words “…built 3 ramps for you for Saturday”. Once again, I was struck with feeling both honored and humbled.
We arrived with guarded optimism. A graduated sidewalk led us into the back yard. When we reached their beautiful deck, there in place was a wooden ramp with what looked like a reasonable angle and it appeared to be sturdy. With tentative trust, I rolled right onto and up the ramp, which safely put me on the main level of their deck.
As if that wasn’t enough, they had also built and put in place a ramp to another level of the deck…
…..and yet another one to get inside their house.
Nothing had been overlooked by these caring and industrious people. It was a wonderful afternoon and evening with good friends and I enjoyed being there and with them. It was made possible by people who invested time, money for materials, and love to include me.
You can see by the pictures that building these ramps was no small task. I remain amazed that anyone would do such acts of kindness….and blown away that people would do them for me. Their love for God spilled over onto me. I am grateful for these extraordinary people and their personal and meaningful gifts.
Those pieces of wood sure look like love to me.