Monday, November 3, 2008

Little People, Big World

Sometimes having agoraphobia makes me feel like a prisoner. Once a woman told me that I was lucky to have agoraphobia. "Wow, how lucky, you don't have to go to work. You can just stay at home and hang out." I was so hurt by that remark. Sometimes I look out the window and feel so lonely and isolated. It feels like Life is passing by me. The irony is that I am a prisoner of my own fears. I miss out on a lot of fun things. Evenso, I have so much to be thankful for.

Tonight I watched a program on TLC (The Learning Channel), called Little People, Big World. The Roloff parents are both little people. They have four children, and one of their sons is also a little person. I watched the first show of the season, where Matt (the husband/father) took a trip to Iraq to visit a family with three dwarf children. So many feelings surfaced as I watched Matt fly to Kuwait, and then to Baghdad. Matt had to wait a few days in Kuwait before he could fly in to Baghdad, first because of the weather, then a scare where the plane thought missiles were coming at it and automatically sent out flares. You can see a CNN interview with Matt Roloff at

The men and women (in the military) that helped Matt through the whole process looked like young kids. I was so surprised to see a guy who couldn't have been more than 20 years of age handling problems and responsibilities that I would have thought someone older and wiser would have been doing. But the young men and women were very professional. It is hard to describe how I'm feeling. Here these kids are, in a country that is so far away from their homes, making decisions and taking risks that are downright frightening.

As Matt flew in to Baghdad, he had to put on protective clothing because he was going in to a war zone. During the flight, he sat next to a bunch of guys that looked so innocent and YOUNG. It amazed me how upbeat everyone was to Matt, joking and happy even as they were driving him to the Green Zone, which, as you know, is a dangerous journey with suicide bombings and all of the other horrible things that happen in a war zone. Matt looked frightened, and I thought, those men and women face that kind of danger every single day. Their fears are real. I know it's their job, but still, they looked so young, and so many of them are killed, and yet they go out and face that danger round the clock.

That was enough to make me cry, but then Matt went and visited the family with the three dwarf children. Their home was extremely humble. The children, who have such severe disabilities that one is almost completely paralyzed, all had smiling faces. They greeted Matt with such enthusiasm, and one of the boys kept telling Matt he loved him and gave him kisses. He is 9 years old. The oldest daughter, who is 13, has to crawl on the floor. Matt's purpose in visiting them was to get pictures and x-rays to take back to a specialist in California who would then try to help the kids in whatever ways possible.

The entire Iraqi family went to a health clinic to take x-rays. The children were so brave, but I could tell they were frightened. The oldest daughter cried, and wanted to be put back on the floor. Their father had been a soldier and was hit in the head by shrapnel (I think), and had some brain damage, half of his face was paralyzed. And yet, his every thought was for his children, who were suffering from some of the physical problems dwarfism and the lack of any kind of medical treatment. I could see fear in the father's eyes, and in the mother's eyes as well. Their fears were real fears. They watched their oldest daughter's mobility deteriorate to the extreme, and now the second child is showing the same pattern. All of this worry and dispair, and they live in a war zone.

Matt gave them Crayola Markers and other art supplies. The children and parents were so tickled to receive something that I don't think twice about buying at Target. When Matt had to leave Iraq, I felt a little bit of panic that the children had not received any medical treatment yet. The son who kissed Matt told him that his home was Matt's home whenever he came to visit, and the parents nodded in agreement. Of course Matt got to go home to his farm and all of the comforts that we enjoy every day. At the end of the show, there was a picture of Matt and the family from Iraq, all smiling for the camera. It made me cry ...

I guess I cry a lot. Looking back at my posts, there have been many tears shed. I think for the most part, they are good tears. Tonight I'm feeling lucky that I cried because I was going to miss a puppy that Gracie gave birth to in my lap. I've had the wonderful opportunity of seeing the puppies grow and thrive, and to see Gracie's love for them. I cried the other night when I got off of my horse because I was so grateful that I had a horse to ride, and that when I was on Scamper, I did not feel the heavy weight of agoraphobia. I was so thankful that Rick and I were able to ride the trails around my home, and could stop and visit with friends along the way. I think the neighbors heard me crying, they must think I'm a crazy woman. But it was happy crying.

I have agoraphobia. Sometimes I feel like a prisoner in my own home. Sometimes I miss out on a lot of fun. My fears are very real to me. However, I appreciate what security I have here in my little city by the mountains. I'm grateful that I'll be able to have knee surgery to fix an injury (and YES, I will be complaining about that, but it is going to hurt, darn it!). I am so thankful that I can see how others live and struggle to overcome their trials through television and the internet, because as I watch the sorrows of the world, it helps me to appreciate everything, and not take things for granted. I cried for that sweet little family in Iraq, and I cried for the soldiers and their families, who are tangled up in a deadly war. I won't ever forget that picture at the end of the show, Little People, Big World, because they were all smiling.

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