Many persons with disabilities (PWDs) are still at a loss in finding their place in our society—trying to win our respect, approval, and love. Admittedly, we ignore, pity, or even discriminate the “differently abled,” thinking they are less capable than us.
It may be difficult to have someone dear to us suffer from a lifelong handicap. But John Paul Paulino proves to his family that disability is never a hindrance for love to thrive in his home.
John Paul, or JP, contracted polio when he was three. One would think his world would be shattered as he was confined in the four corners of his home, but JP knows how to dream big.
“I didn’t want to be a helpless and dreamless guy, dependent on my crutches, and anchoring my life on self-pity and remorse,” he said. “I wanted to have a family of my own, and that became my motivation.”
He persevered in his studies, received a degree in industrial technology, and worked as a draftsman after college. This was the time when he met the love of his life, Rowena.
Later on, a friend encouraged him to work as a phone-based prayer counselor at CBN Asia Prayer Center, since JP has a gift for uplifting people.
“I want to help others by motivating them and sharing to them the hope I found in Jesus Christ despite of my condition.”
One Happy Family
When JP and Rowena got married, they didn’t mind the discriminating eyes around them. All that mattered to them was their love for each other and for God. Their marriage bore two good fruits: Javis, their firstborn, and Kisha, their daughter.
“Being kids, my children would often ask me why I can’t walk. They would even mimic me, thinking it’s proper,” JP said. “But we always tell them the truth, and I know that they understand.”
He added, “We live like any normal family. We love each other and care for each other. I’m grateful that my wife and my children are very supportive and understanding. They love and accept me for who I am, and they are never ashamed of me.”
As time passed, JP’s detractors saw how they’d misjudged him. “My in-laws, who were at first against our marriage, became proud of me when they saw I’m able to provide for my family. Even friends who were skeptical became apologetic.”
At times, JP still feels inferior and weak, but these moments help him prove more how much he loves his family.
“Sometimes, I feel sad because I couldn’t run outside and play with my kids. But then, I make sure that I make up for it. I spend time with them and I make them feel that I love them.”
Rowena proudly shared, “My husband goes to work from Bulacan to Makati without the aid of a car and with only his crutches as his companion. He rides the bus and doesn’t mind how difficult it is to travel such distance. All he thinks is how he can provide for us.”
JP added, “Many times I fall off the bus and it really hurts, not to mention the embarrassment I get from people staring at me. But whenever I think of my family, I get strength. And God is always there to protect me.”
When not working, JP would sell bread to his neighbors. Under the scorching heat of the sun, he would go door to door to offer his baked goods. Sometimes, he would even accept repair jobs.
His son Javis sees all these and, at a tender age, already knows his dad is doing all he can to be a great father, even in crutches.
“Papa works hard for us. Even if he is already tired, he doesn’t mind. He cooks for us and gives us toys to play with. He is kind and gentle,” he shared. “Even if he can’t walk normally, Papa can also do things that normal people can do, and even more.”
With tears brimming in his young eyes, Javis told JP, “I love you, Papa, even if you walk with crutches and even if you can’t run. When I grow up, I want to be just like you. I wouldn’t trade you for anyone else.” | by Deb Bataller, CBN Asia
TELL YOUR DAD HOW MUCH YOU LOVE HIM!
Looking forward to rekindling your relationship with your father? CBN Asia Prayer Center can help you patch things up. Call us on our 24/7 hotlines: (02) 810-7176 or (02) 810-7717.