Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More Than We Know

Much has been made lately about comments made degrading a certain element of our society.  I think this is atrocious and not to be tolerated.  It is a gross understatement to say that physically or mentally challenged individuals have no value to lend to the world.  Take this young man for example:


I envy Kevin.  My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed.  At least that's what I heard him say one night.  He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, "Are you there, God?" he asked. "Where are you?  Oh, I see.  Under the bed..."

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room.  Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement.  But that night something else lingered long after the humor.  I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor.  Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.

He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will.  He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different.  Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.

He does not seem dissatisfied.  He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.  He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.

And Saturdays - oh, the bliss of Saturdays!  That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. "That one's goin' to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.

He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.  His life is simple.  He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats.  His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working.  When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.  He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished.  But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.

He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.  He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.

Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.

Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child.  Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp.  God seems like his closest companion.

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.
It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.  It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap.  I am.  My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.

Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn?  After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.

Kevin won't be surprised at all!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

But They Tried

Have you been watching the Olympics games?  I have, and as always, I am so impressed by the athletes and the nations who sponsor them.

For approximately two weeks every few years, the world meets in peace - okay, near peace.  If the athletes can do it, why not the national leaders?

I watch as the athletes from the USA compete in sports I don't even have an appreciation for and cheer them on as far as their talents and the luck of the draw take them.  Many times they win - many times they don't.  In every effort, they finish. 

Lindsey Vonn fell during her ski race on Friday, but she had finished the race.  It may seem that she didn't because she fell, but she did.  The fall was her "finish line."

Occasionally after having trained for many years an athlete will come all the way to the starting line and have to withdraw from the competition because of an injury.  Those are the ones I admire more than many of the others.  They put themselves - their well-being - ahead of a contest that in many cases lasts less than two minutes.  Their Olympic dreams for this time are over.  You know the physical pain they feel is secondary to the agony they must feel at having been through so much just to have to see their dream melted right in front of their eyes.

How sad.

Then there are the athletes who finish their race minutes behind the 15th place finisher. Still they finished.  My heart swells with pride regardless of the country each athlete represents.

The entire world should be very proud of these young people.  Yes, they are athletes to be sure, but they are someone's son or daughter, sister or brother, mother or father.  They are someone's best friend.  They deserve to be applauded for their efforts.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Oh no! Not Another One

Have you heard the news this morning?  A small plane has crashed into a building in Austin, Texas.  Not just any building - this building housed the FBI offices.  Obviously, it's too early to know details.  According to a FOX News Alert that came to my inbox this morning, the pilot had set his house on fire before crashing his plane into that building.

I can't watch the news.  I'll have to rely on the alerts that FNC and CNN send to me.  I don't want to watch another plane fly into another building as long as I live. It's just too traumatic for me.

Besides, I have other things to do this morning.  Like a little house cleaning maybe.  Or take the old newspapers up to the office for the recycle bin.  Or maybe I'll put a pot of pinto beans on the stove to cook.  Anything other than watching the news reports. 

Get a grip, people!  What's going on here is terrorism.  It doesn't matter whether or not the pilot of that small plane is an American citizen who is having marital problems.  It doesn't matter if he's disgruntled with Texas State government - or the Federal government for that matter.  The point is, this man, whoever and whatever he is, sought to kill himself and decided that someone would notice that he had lived.  So he crashed his plane into a building where hundreds if not thousands of people were working this morning.  Going about their daily work routine.  And this terrorist decided that he would make life difficult for those people as well.

I haven't heard if anyone else has been hurt or killed.  That would make it even worse.  What matters here is that someone, somewhere at some time has got to recognize this for what it is - a terrorist attack.  Do you really think the people in that building were not terrorized when the building shook and they heard the explosion?

No political correctness for me!  This man was a terrorist, and this WAS a terrorist event.  Call it what it was!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Blessings

There are times when I realize how blessed I truly am.  Other times, I don't think I'm blessed at all.  Today of all days, I do feel particularly blessed. 

I'm diabetic so it was very thoughtful of my friends to not send chocolates.

I have horrible allergies so it was very thoughtful of my friends to not send flowers.

The cards I have received are very pretty and it was very thoughtful of my friends and family to send them.

Still there is one friend I haven't heard from on this Valentine's Day.  My Day would be perfectly complete if she finds the time to send an email to let me know that she is as grateful for our friendship as I am.

She's busy... so here's a little Valentine's wish for her.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nouns and Verbs

There are entirely too many different definitions of pain in our world.  I am trying to turn over a new page in my own personal dictionary and there will be some changes in the definitions of some of my words.

PAIN will probably carry a definition something like this:
     What someone who is irritating you causes in your backside.

There are other words that will carry new definitions in my dictionary also.  Check these out:

     Time - how long one spends doing something nice.
     Fruit - banana on cereal, peach in cobbler, cherry in pie, chocolate on everything.
     Fun -  anything that doesn't invoke tears.

What do you think of my dictionary so far?  Neat, huh?  Oh!  There's another one.  I'd better write that down before I forget it.