I HAVE A PHYSICAL HANDICAP, AND I CAN’T GET A DATE.
By Rev. Caio Fábio Dear Pastor, Peace And Grace to you I am quite happy for participating in the site and listening to your preachings. I’ve read your books and followed your Program Pare e Pense¹*. Well, I don’t want to make it any longer, cause I am one more person out of many whom you have to see to. I am happy in Christ and in the life He has awarded me, except for one thing that disturbs me a lot: I am 39, single and have a physical handicap which despite being moderate, generates special needs. I can work, travel and do everything. My physical handicap doesn’t impair me from doing almost anything. I’m able to walk normally. It’s just that my body is curved. Specifically speaking, the only thing my disability hinders me from doing is getting a boyfriend. I’ve dreamed of it and waited for this to happen. I’ve fallen in love (platonically) many times. However, I could get nothing but friendship. Guys would feel and realize that I was in love with them but they’d rather pretty and physically perfect women. I was afraid of telling them how I felt, but such things are hard to hide. As soon as they realized about my feelings they would vanish; and it has always been this way. In the middle of all this, my fear and pain increased. At the age of 16 I joined Church but I’ve never had a boyfriend either in Church or out of it. It seems that church isn’t an ideal place to meeting somebody. Yet, it’s easier for men to choose at will. After all, there are more women than men in churches. Can you imagine how difficult it is to someone like me? My wants are known to God and He is the one who consoles me. Only God knows how many tears I’ve cried and how much I’ve suffered for loving. He understands my loneliness. I recall the last time I fell in love. When the young man realized that I wanted something else other than friendship, he told me, in a rude way, that he didn’t want to date me. Once, a couple of pastors literally introduced me to a young man in a wheel chair. They wanted me to date him since he too, was physically handicapped and couldn’t get a girlfriend. I shocked and got speechless. People think that I should date or even marry a physically handicapped person like me. It hurts that people just can’t see further than that. It is as if couples had to match perfectly. If one is ugly and the other is good looking, they can’t see any harmony. They invariably have something to say and, in general, it is appearance that counts. I have read some of your answers to lonely people who can’t manage to meet a suitable person in church, and as far as I understood, your advice is that seeking an evangelical is a mistake. I get your point: not everybody from church really belongs to God or is in tune with Him. As for me, I want someone who really loves God, with the same understanding about the salvation in Christ; otherwise, what kind of fellowship can there be between this person and me? I need someone with whom I can share about God and who understands me in this area as well. Do you get it? Sincerely, I’ve got many dreams. And I tell you: they are really nice dreams! I have always dreamed of dating and marrying one only person, and I am all right with it. I can’t picture myself dating one, two, and move on trying till I finally meet the right person. My case is a difficult one! Yet, I still dream and hope that this dream will come true, though it’s been hard to wait so long. My own family looks at me weirdly when I say that I want to get married, have my own house and kids (I can get pregnant –though many people don’t deem it possible). That’s the way my family reacts. Overall, cause I am 39. I am someone full of life, peaceful with life and God. I travel frequently and do many other things. I just I don’t go out often cause I have no acquaintances to go out with. My work colleagues are married and so are my brothers. I was wandering from church to church until I finally found Caminho da Graça*² in Brasilia. I really miss a man to kiss, hug, to love me and share things from the heart with pure and sincere love. Is this an impossible dream? One may say that this is over dreaming. But if it doesn’t t work out this way I just won’t accept it. I don’t want things to happen recklessly or randomly. I want love and much sharing. Well, I have written so much. I would really appreciate your opinion and guidance. A hug with my affection and admiration, _________________________________________________ Reply: My Dear Sister and Fellow Friend from “O Caminho da Graça*²”, Generally speaking, women are having a hard time. The evidence of it is the easy and banal way through which women have been behaving in relation to men and sex. That is: men lack sensitiveness, perception and essence. They are so idiotized, foolish and empty that women in despair go for anyone with something swinging in between the legs. Honestly, this generation of men is decidedly less male than ever before. We are in a body building contest. It is the cult of the body in a temple called Gym, added with a sacrament called steroid that alters your mind. Never has Mankind been so worried about the body and least worried about the soul than now! Women— and not only men — prefer an “idiotized” dude in shape to a lucid and sincere man. If he happens to have belly they exchange him for a flat-belly-brainless guy. If women, who are naturally inclining to soul and inner values, behave this way—and I am only generalizing —what to say about men who have always preferred looks, visuals and esthetics? But before we move on, I would like to clarify something. I have no prejudice against evangelical-men but against “men-evangelical”. You know what I mean by “evangelical” between quotations. I refer to those fake believers replete of false certainties, arrogant, moralist and old farts (peidosos) *4. They intend to be merciful and pitying but they have nothing inside but wind. These are the ones I am talking about. If you stay away from these, you will have avoided a skeptical in you life. Now, continuing on: Regarding your situation I want to say the following: 1. Obviously, appearance has become an utmost value, including at “church”. Nevertheless, there is a power stronger than looks and it is the power of personality, real essence – which will only become real if it is not artificial or performed. Despite everything, I still believe that the strongest power that a man or a woman may have, in order to live in a world of interpersonal relationships, reside in a simple, glad, clear, outgoing, confident, and not self-repressing attitude. I want to call you attention to your attitude. Your letter reveals that your demeanor turns your physical handicap into relational handicap due to low self esteem. I have met people with more severe handicaps than you have who live a normal life including in the sentimental area. All is in the mind: attitude and the way you see yourself. Treat yourself as a woman and things will change, you’ll see! 2. All I say is based upon facts and perceptions throughout my life. My father is physically handicapped. When he was a one-year-old-baby he was given an injection that hit his sciatic nerve paralyzing and debilitating one of his legs. Nevertheless, his attitude towards life and his own handicap has always been beautiful, simple, strong and sound. He faced life so self-reliantly that only when I was 10 years old I realized that the crutches he used were not part of him. The crutches never impaired him from doing anything. He never really minded his handicap. One day, when he was young and single, he went out for a stroll and he saw some gorgeous young ladies looking out at him through an open window. He heard them say: “Poor little thing! he is so handsome but walks like a crab”— his answer was: “"Eh! really? And you don’t have the slightest idea how yummy crabs are!” Despite his physical disability my father has been an admired and observed person. Women would desire and prefer him to any other man with two normal legs. The secret? He has been thankful and reliant all his life. He is aware that, despite being a handsome man (apart from the leg handicap), his beauty doesn’t come from his body. 3. Three years ago, at Café com Graça³ *, in Rio de Janeiro, there came a young lady about your age with a similar evangelical background and all the idiosyncrasies acquired from the evangelical culture. She told me that she hadn’t had a boyfriend for more than a decade. She felt diminished. I told her that she was used to hiding herself. She would talk without looking into the eye. She had a permanent apologizing attitude. That attitude of hers would speak of her handicap. I proposed an exercise to her: she would attend gatherings and reunions well dressed, scented and smiling according to her mood and free to address whoever she wanted to talk to. But under one condition: she wouldn’t talk of her physical handicap and wouldn’t treat herself as handicapped. I told her that within a year she would have another kind of problem: too many men around her. Bingo! Now, three years later, she bears a smile from ear to ear, and testifies about how attitude shift has changed her life. Everything depends on the mind. 4. The attitude of the pastors you mentioned was childish and nonsensical. Nevertheless, I ask you: would you, by any chance, cast off a man with a physical handicap likewise? What I mean is: if you reject him, you will also be rejected. “The way you treat others will be the way you will be treated--and even worse”. 5. I honestly think that if you are easygoing, free spirited, happy, spontaneous, trustful and sound to yourself things will start changing very soon. 6. About meeting someone from the same religious background it is the ideal thing to happen. But before that, open yourself to love. The great dogma of dating and getting married is love. It is indeed a matter of love. Without love, any other kind of faith communion will develop nothing but fraternity. As the years passes, fraternity will soak the person in monotony, seeing that the one who marries does not establish a council to grant “Credos”; instead, the one who marries, is an exerciser of the “love credo” within the established relationship. 7. About getting married to the only man you date I think it is beautiful but completely unreal. It is not even advisable for you to keep this expectancy. Which man would like to start seeing someone under the obligation of getting married? I personally, would never engage in this situation. 8. Don’t set guidelines to your life. We don’t have this power. Assuming that you can treat your existence this way is a gross mistake with much bitter in the future. “The righteous will live by faith”. And it applies also to the sentimental journey and discoveries. Nobody can forecast anything. Nobody knows what will work well or not. Nobody received from God such a power. No one can grant such guaranties. Those who think like this should not lament. If this is an utmost value in your life, you will probably end up alone. And, in this case, you should not even complain. 9. Ephphatha! "Be opened!". Think of it and write back to me. I would like to meet you in person at Caminho da Graça*². A kiss! IN HIM, TO WHOM THE MOST HANDICAPPED IS THE ONE UNABLE TO LOVE. CAIO *¹ Pare e Pense was a TV program conducted by Rev. Caio Fábio in Manaus, Amazonas St., Brazil. * ²Caminho da Graça is a group reunion recently established in Brasilia, Brazil. *³ Café com Graça is a place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is not a “church” but a place where people get together in an informal manner. *4 The author composed a tongue twist in Portuguese with the words “piedosos” (pitying) and “peidosos” (old farts). Translated by Wanda de Melo