People trying to be kind about disability often say things like "we're never given more than we can handle," "you must be such a strong person to be given this trial," and the nauseating "God gives special needs to special people."
On the other end of the spectrum, I've been told various times throughout my life that if I had more faith I would be healed, and I'm often confronted with a quote from a long-dead bigot who said being born handicapped was a punishment for not being spiritually valiant.
I'm going to be brutally honest with my feelings about this: ALL of those are BS.
ALL OF THEM.
The nice ones, the rude ones -- they're all wrong.
Disabilities aren't handed out to special people who are strong enough to "handle" them. (What does that even mean?) Nor are they given out as an opportunity to glorify God by being miraculously healed. It might sound good in an institute class, but I refuse to believe that my loving Heavenly Father gave me my illnesses just so He could look good.
Disability isn't good or bad.
It isn't punishment or reward.
Disability just is.
For much of my life with disability, I was bitter, angry, and depressed. Even since I was converted and my life was changed, there are still times when I can't handle it. There are times when the thought of going to the hospital one more time, talking with one more doctor, spending one more night sleeping in the bathroom or not sleeping because of pain -- it's too much. I don't believe I was given this trial because I have superior coping abilities. Whether you want to think about it or not, YOU could handle these trials just as well as I do -- I don't use the phrase "temporarily able-bodied" just for the laughs. Anyone could endure these things and be made better by the atonement, and only by the atonement.
You don't need any special strength or patience to live with disability. All of what little strength I have comes from my decision, made every week and sometimes every hour, to put myself aside and lean on Christ. He is my strength. If you're ever faced with this, or in any other trial, He can be yours too.
(These photos are a throwback to the first time I visited temple grounds, in September 2012! Feelin' nostalgic.)