Have you ever thought of what it means to be valid? Those of you who know me well already know this, but my mind works in strange ways…..it never takes a direct path…maybe you can relate. I’m on the computer to do my progress notes….I think of something I need to research further, then that reminds me of my purpose, and then that reminds me I’m still trying to think of a name for my group practice, and then before you know it I’m researching the names I come up with and their history.
One of them lead me to the history of the Biblical account of The Pool of Bethesda, where Jesus healed a man who had been an invalid for many years. Well, when I was reading it, I misread it and didn’t see the word “an”…I read, “The man had been invalid for many years”. WHAT!?! Invalid!?! According to who? I was reading the word IN-VALID, meaning “Not Valid”. That totally freaked me out and distracted me from my purpose. That’s another trait that often gets in my way…I’m somewhat of an advocate by nature. If you tell me someone is being mistreated, I’m all over it.
So anyway, after a moment I realized I had misread it and it really said, “the man had been an invalid”…hmmm….that really made me think….so, who came up with that term? So, I looked it up to be sure I new the meaning of invalid, which the dictionary said meant, “suffering from disease or disability” or “discharged from the military due to disease or disability”. Now how did they come up with THAT term? Did it come from thinking the person is NOT VALID? As if they need some stamp of approval to be valid? I don’t agree!
In fact, I work with people every day, disabled or not, trying to help them see their validity. Many of them have lost their ability to see themselves as valid, significant, or having a purpose in life because of how they have been treated by others. I see them through a lens of their importance to God, to themselves, and to me. Many times, healing comes just through having one person who sees them as valid. What a reminder to us all to validate our loves ones by reaching out to them in love rather than tearing them down!
Back to the idea of being an “invalid”…I will never again use that term….I don’t know that I ever have…in fact, I don’t even like the term “disabled”. I have many friends who are precious to me who society labels as disabled. To those friends, I want to say….in my eyes, YOU are ABLE…able to give love, laughter, and friendship…and so much more! YOU are VALID!
— written Laura Slagle, LMFT — copywright 2018