Written by Angelyn A. Padernos
I was sixteen-year-old then, battling feelings of humiliation when others teased me about how my foot looked. At that time, I was also desperately searching for answers to the questions I had since I was a kid, such as why was I born this way?
Unkind comments from people who did not comprehend my situation came daily. They made fun of me by calling me pilay, a Tagalog word which means ”crippled” or “lame.” I got into a fight once with my elementary school classmate who called me that and was humiliated in college when a professor asked me about my foot in front of the entire class. Every comment I received about my foot fossilized its presence in my heart and mind. I cried and wallowed in self-pity whenever I thought about it. Each time I would run home and cry, and that was all I could do.
I felt so helpless because no one was protecting me from harmful and discouraging words. I thought no one bothered. But God was there. I realized it when I read this passage from a book:
I see that you’re tired; I tell you, drop your sword and put down the shield. Why worry about the fight? After all it’s not your battle, it’s mine. All you have to do is to be in the battle field against the thousand who try to destroy you. There I will stand and rescue, just do your best and I’ll take the rest.
Your Commander, Jesus Christ.”
At first I thought I could fight my enemies on my own by crying and running from them. But God knows that I am tired of using my shield and I will be defeated in the fight. It gave me great comfort to know that the battle is His and that He is always there.
As I continued my journey into maturity, God helped me a little at a time to deal with my situation and provided answers to the questions I had for many years. One answer came in the form of a newspaper article entitled “St Luke’s helps boy put his best foot forward.” Sprawled all over the article were pictures of a boy who had a foot just like mine. Naturally curious, I read the article and realized that the boy (Juan Martin Paz) had clubfoot—a congenital deformity which involves one foot or both.
All my years of agonizing about the state of my foot were finally addressed by this article. I finally understood why my foot looked the way it did. At least now I know that my foot was not a result of a balut (a developing duck embryo) or being cursed by the engkanto (a Filipino myth creature) while my mother was pregnant with me.
After understanding why I am the way I am, I resolved to continue to live confidently although I know it will be hard and I will continue to face insensitive remarks from people who do not understand my condition. Knowing that God is with me, I will just take a deep breath, utter a short prayer, embrace it openly with a smile on my face and continue to put my best foot forward (pun intended)!
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” —Psalm 139:13-14 (ESV)