Bathroom Conversations

I’m currently in the bathroom stall, we’re officially on our way to China, and Emma’s already cracking me up.

You’re finding me in a rather awkward place, I admit, but I can’t help finding myself wonder yet again, “Who am I that I get to live with the Emma Mutz?”

Long story short, my last time in China, a local friend watched the PEOPLE LIKE US doc and then told me through tears, “I had no idea. I had no idea people with disabilities could succeed like that.”

As she explained, people with disabilities in China are considered unlucky and unwanted. It’s a complex reality and I don't want to lose you in the details, but for those interested in understanding the situation in China, I highly suggest checking out this article.

Now, back to outside my bathroom stall:

Emma *washing her hands*: “Where are you going?”

Stranger 1: “Ohio.”

Emma: “Oh. Okay.”


Emma (after realizing this stranger isn't going to ask her in return): “Well I’m going to China.”

Stranger 1: “That’s nice.”

As I opened my stall door, I watched the woman Emma was talking to leave and listened as Em began her next conversation with a young lady using a walker.

Emma: “Hi. Can I pray for you?”

Stranger 2: “Sure.”

Emma: “Kirsti, let’s pray.”

As we headed back to the gate, I began to focus on pushing Emma through a maze of people when I heard her tell a flight attendant passing by, “You’re pretty!”

Emma kept marchin’ along, but I saw the flight attendant stop, turn around to look at Emma, and smile.

It was in that moment I realized this lady and I shared more than just a resolve to get to our gates on time. My bet is we both shared this thought, as well:

What a completely unnecessary, completely awesome thing for some girl to do.

I have yet to get to China and Emma’s done it again: impressed me with her ability to see the strangers I push around as individuals that should be known.

In a world focused on productivity, it’s easy to classify people as those who are successful and those who are not, as those who have worth and those who do not. I recently learned the Chinese term for someone with Down syndrome is “Mongolian idiot.” And yet instances like these (amongst a million others) cause me to reconsider: What is it that qualifies someone as valuable? What makes a citizen successful and what justifies us to treat a sub-group as “less than?”

My revelations may come in the bathroom, but nonetheless I’m thankful for a sister who challenges me to see individuals to appreciate, not just a crowd to push through.



Check out Emma’s first moments in China (where she assumes the locals taking pictures of us “foreigners” are really just her paparazzi).