Dear Joe,

I was intrigued when I first read your profile. I have been on this site long enough to know that most people here do not describe themselves as Christian. I was curious enough to want to get to know more about you, so I “swiped right;” and instantly saw that you had done the same thing. We were a match.

You reached out to me first. You said hello and I returned your greeting. We both said it was nice to meet the other. You asked how my day was going and I told you that I good, I was spending the day working. You asked what I did for a living and I told you that I was a writer and a speaker. Over the next few minutes, because you asked, I told you that I had written a book. You were impressed and you asked me what the book was about. It was at that point I told you that I was a wheelchair user because I was affected by cerebral palsy. It wasn’t that it was a secret. The pictures that accompany my profile on that site make it obvious that I am wheelchair moble. And yet, once I said those words, you stopped communicating with me.

I wish you had asked me questions about how my disability affects my life. I would have been willing to answer almost anything. If I had been given that chance, then maybe I could have calmed some fears or challenged some misconceptions that you have. I would have welcomed that opportunity.

Did the fact that I have a different life experience than you do scare you off? Do you think I struggle or feel sorry for myself or that my life is significantly hard? If the answer to any of those questions is “yes,” then you would be right on some days. It can be frustrating when things are out of my reach or when I am out of something that I need and I can’t drive myself to the store. It is true that there are some things that my condition has taken away from me. But here is the thing. Because of my cerebral palsy, I have gained a lot of things too.

My circumstances mean that I have a boatload of patience. That is necessary in my world. It means there are times when I must wait on other people for help but it also means that I know how to slow down. I know how to appreciate the sunshine after a cold spell and I know how to really listen to what is going on with the people I care about. I am a good friend. And I can be a good support when others need me to be. I know what it is like to be in pain. That is why I like to ease the pain of others when it is in my capability to do so.

You and I aren’t all that different. We are both midways through our lives and I am guessing there are some things you used to be able to do that are harder for you now. My balance is a little worse than it used to be. My coordination isn’t up to par by typical standards. I have spent most of my adult life learning to embrace my situation and these days I can say that it really isn’t that big of a deal. Since it isn’t likely to change at this point, I have learned to work with my disability instead of against it. After all, this is the way God made me.

I have a great laugh. In terms of movies, I love dramas and romantic comedies. Action adventures and horror films just aren’t my thing. I love to cook and I am always trying to tweak recipes and make them my own. I love snuggling with my puppy and watching him play. I don’t like that society views people with disabilities as second-class citizens and through my writing and my speaking, I am doing everything in my power to change that. When I was younger, I was a competitive athlete and several years ago I was very involved in wheelchair ballroom dance. I have scores of friends, and I am asked to consult and speak to various audiences about things that can empower lots of people. I live a full, active life and my disability is only a small part of that.

I want you to know that I don’t blame you for your reaction to me. In my experience, people fear what they don’t know and it is possible that you just have not been around many people with disabilities. That is okay. I wish you well. I sincerely hope that you find what you are looking for.

I just know that when I find the right guy for me, he isn’t going to be the “average joe.”

Take good care,