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Disability and Faith

A Grief Journal Part 3: Lasting Impact

In my previous post I mentioned a man who recently died of COVID ... he was one of the first people I supported who did not use words to communicate, but clearly had much to say.

A Grief Journal Part 2: Community

Because everyone experiences the loss. Everyone grieves. Whether you lived with the person, worked with the person, or knew them in passing, their departure leaves a hole in the community that is felt much farther than one might expect.

A Grief Journal Part 1: In Memory

Every time someone dies we grieve. We mourn. We miss them. And then we move on. Because there’s someone else who needs that space, who needs that funding, who needs that support, who needs our focus.

John Michael’s Gift

My favorite twenty minutes of each day is when I get to help John Michael eat. He can’t do it on his own, and even with help, he can’t do it quickly. It takes time and concentration on both of our parts. It’s a dance.

Francis and His Brother

Everywhere we go we are being called brother and sister, daughter and son, mother and father. Everywhere we go we are being called into relationship with the lonely and the forgotten, the sidelined and the left behind. Everywhere we go voices are calling us to be more than we ever thought we could be. May we all have the faith to call one another into the reverberations of the love of God, and to answer that call when it comes.

A poem – Sensory Processing Disorder

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.

Can we go out today?

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.

Serving Others (#2) Enhance relationships

The biggest challenge for people with exceptional needs in relationship with others who may or may not have exceptional needs is often a lack of opportunity for reciprocity and responsibility. For example, for many years, I attended churches where little was expected of me. Everyone over-praised the fact that I showed up.

Serving others (#1) Promote citizenship

Faith communities can model the principle of promoting full citizenship by ensuring that people with exceptional needs are always welcomed into worship services and times of fellowship. Promoting full membership within the faith community might also mean ensuring that religious education is adaptable and communion or other liturgical components are accessible.

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