In today’s world, people with disabilities are largely ‘othered’, and there’s movement of self-advocacy afoot among them. There’s no telling what can happen when people unite across differences.
In the group home they are waiting...
Having journaled for years, recently I went to a digital platform for my journal, so I’ve begun to transcribe my old, hand-written journals into the new platform. It’s a painstakingly slow project, and the strange world of COVID-19 has prompted its resumption.
Jesus instructed his disciples to “pack light” for their mission (Matthew 10:9-10). When it comes to the mission of supporting people who experience disabilities, there are a few transferable principles from this passage of scripture that we can apply.
I was young and early in my career, eager to prove myself and terrified of being perceived as being anything but in total control of my charge. I was not at all happy to be outside of the walls of the school ... I did not want to be walking to church.
There is a subtle panic in her eyes: she is trying to read me, trying to understand what it is I could want from her, but she picks up nothing at all from my best encouraging face.
During this season of forced and mutual deprivation, when our consolations are taken from us one by one and we are continually and graphically reminded of the mortality of our species, I turn to the men I support for wisdom and guidance.
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 John 14 Thomas is quite concerned that he will not find the way to God on his own. Jesus provides reassurance that the journey of faith does not depend on whether we can see or understand God's directions. Rather, it depends on our ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ and our willingness to trust him step-by-step.
“People with various disabilities are those who are immensely gifted, obviously, to see things and do things that maybe I can’t see. But the bottom line is that I am able to see God’s presence at work in them… and then they’re able to engage me and a space is opened up, a very unique space. And this is the way that God has created the world, for us to be in these social spaces of transformation.”