These men, despite their depths of hard-won wisdom and delightful companionship, are well-accustomed to strangers keeping their distance in public places. The conditions we ironically bemoan on social media are barely distinguishable from how they have spent most of the days of their lives. They are old pros at quarantine, and they are teaching me.
In Romans 8, Saint Paul tells us that the whole creation groans in labour pains, waiting for the redemption of the body. We too groan in yearning. We long for an end to the suffering, the tedium, the frustration at incomplete solutions…
Disability Theology acknowledges that vulnerability is complex. Some are vulnerable because the world is broken. But everyone is in some way vulnerable, and this is not a bad thing.
In Bekoji, Ethiopia, a place that housed tools of war is becoming a place that will offer supports which will nourish and grow the community. This is all because its members now rightly believe that their children with disabilities are image-bearers of God. That's a light I can live in.
As my husband, Jonathan, and I have talked with other parents of kids with disabilities or special needs, we’ve learned that I was definitely not alone with my questions and struggles. Questions and struggles not only in relation to God, but also in relation to how to navigate this life as a parent with a child who has additional needs. But, who do we go to with our questions? Who do we go to for support on days when life is overwhelming and often others just don’t “get it”? Hope Anew is launching an online community for parents of kids with disabilities or special needs. A laugh together, cry together, pray together community.
As someone who works in a Christian ministry serving people with disabilities, I’m thankful that this “Emmaus road” is open to us. While sometimes God works in impressive, earth-changing ways, it is a relief to know that he can also work through our small acts of coming alongside people on their journey.
When I first really dug into exploring Jesus in the Gospels, I encountered someone who offered love, liberation, and wholeness to people who needed it in the midst of structures and systems that didn’t always do the same.
Jesus removed a barrier and helped someone ignored to be heard. Jesus challenged societal and religious (gasp!) practices and expectations that kept people like this man in poverty and on the outside. Jesus helped a man who was blind to take a step toward community.
The long-term goal of my project EcumenAbility© is nothing more than to raise the profile of inclusion of people with disabilities to the same level as other social justice issues. Churches and congregations can thus take a leading role in improving the lives of people with disabilities in their present life and give a positive example to the general society.
Carly is the youngest of our three adult children. She is now 21 years old and has Angelman Syndrome. Carly’s life has grown my faith and provided inspiration for much of my writing. Jesus, Let’s Talk explores the very personal and natural ways we express ourselves with God, no matter what our abilities are to communicate.