And gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Extending Mercy To Those Who Trespass Against Us

Humans are meant to react to hurt by wanting to do something about it. When our hand gets burned by a flame, we quickly pull it away to safety. When we break a bone, we keep the injury still. When we have a laceration we clean and bandage it. Emotional wounds, however, can present more of a problem.

When my child is insulted, I feel angry. When someone excludes him I feel helpless and sad. When someone I trust lies, I feel betrayed. I am tempted to do something about it. I want to avenge the wrong. I want to correct the injustice and make sure it does not happen to someone else.

But that is not necessarily the course God wants me to take, and it is not necessarily the path by which healing will be brought forth.

God knows and understands my emotional pain and He does not ask me to deny it. He asks me instead to let it pass into His hands. He is my Caretaker and He shall spread His healing balm over my wounds and the wounds of my child. He brings us restoration according to His Will, His Way, and in His Time.

When God calls us to stand up to our offenders, we must do so with courage and faith. When anointed, we are empowered to serve as His apostles, evangelists, intercessors, and servants. When God calls us to quietly absolve our offenders, we must do so with the same courage and faith.

Last Sunday was the Feast of Christ the King in the Catholic Church. The Gospel Reading was from Matthew 25:31-46 (what you did/did not do for one of these least ones, you did/did not do for me). It reminded me that when my child is excluded, Christ is excluded. When my child is mocked, Christ is mocked. When I am betrayed, Christ is betrayed.

And when I do not show mercy to another, I do not show mercy to Him.

The only true justice for injury is His. And whether we are called to publicly stand or quietly exculpate, there is no healing except in showing mercy and forgiveness. To submit to His mercy and all it asks of us is to submit to opening our eyes to see things we might otherwise have missed. It is to realize that when we ask our Savior the question, "Lord, when did we see You?" Jesus will answer, "When not?"

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me acknowledge my feelings when I am hurt and let them flow into You. Help me to be compassionate and merciful in the disappointments and unfairness of life, especially in the thoughtlessness of others, in the insincerity of those I trusted, and in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.

Always, Theresa

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Am The Disabled Child, Author Unknown

I am the child who cannot talk.You often pity me. I see it in your eyes. You wonder how much I am aware of...I see that as well. I am aware of much...whether you are happy or sad or fearful, patient or impatient, full of love and desire, or if you are just doing your duty to me. I marvel at your frustration, knowing mine to be far greater, for I cannot express myself nor my needs as you do. You cannot conceive my isolation, so complete it is at times. I do not gift you with clever conversation, cute remarks to be laughed over and repeated. I do not give you answers to your everyday questions, responses over my well-being, sharing my needs,or comments about the world around me. I do not give you rewards as defined by the world's standards...great strides in development that you can credit yourself. I do not give you understanding as you know it. What I give you is so much more valuable...I give you instead opportunities. Opportunities to discover the depth of your character, not mine; the depth of your love, your commitment, your patience, your abilities; the opportunity to explore your spirit more deeply than you imagined possible. I drive you further than you ever go on your own, working harder, seeking answers to your many questions, creating questions with no answers. I am the child who cannot talk.

I am the child who cannot walk. The world sometimes seems to pass me by. You see the longing in my eyes to get out of this chair, to run and play like other children. There is much you take for granted. I want the toys on the top shelf.I need to go to the bathroom...oh...I've dropped my spoon again! I am dependent on you in these ways.My gift to you is to make you aware of your great fortune,y our healthy back and legs, your ability to do for yourself.Sometimes people appear not to notice me; I always notice them. I feel not so much envy as desire, desire to stand upright, to put one foot in front of the other, to be independent.I give you awareness. I am the child who cannot walk.

I am the child who is mentally impaired. I don't learn easily, if you judge me by the world's measuring stick. What I do know is infinite joy in the simple things. I am not burdened as you are with the strifes and conflicts or a more complicated life. My gift to you is to grant you the freedom to enjoy things as a child, to teach you how much your arms around me mean, to give you love. I give you the gift of simplicity. I am the child who is mentally impaired.

I am the disabled child.

I am your teacher.

If you allow me, I will teach you what is really important in life. I will give you and teach you unconditional love. I give you my innocent trust, my dependency upon you. I teach you respect for others and their uniqueness. I teach you about the sanctity of life. I teach you about how very precious life is and about not taking things for granted. I teach you about forgetting your own needs and desires and dreams. I teach you giving. Most of all, I teach you Hope and Faith.

I am the Disabled Child
~Author Unknown~

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

All Are Invited To The Table Of Plenty

I've recently been encountering the understanding gap in places I would not expect to find it -- a house of worship and a religious school yard.

We moms of children with special needs encounter the understanding gap more than we care to say. Sometimes it can seem that people just don't get it, other times it seems they don't want to get it. This can be a great source of pain and weariness: it is tiring to educate the whole world, and frankly, it is neither possible, nor our job to do so. Yet there are times when we are called to stand up, and to declare the dignity of people with special needs. "Disability is not a mistake! Disability is not a divine punishment! It is not something from which one needs to be healed! Disability is part of God's plan!"

In our current culture that admires and seeks to attain physical perfection and worldly success, we and the Church must protect the "less than perfect", the defenseless, the vulnerable, the marginalized, the poor. All human beings are created in the image of God, having dignity, value and intention. “The Lord said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11).

Disabled People are created perfectly in His image. Each of us is made "so that the work of God might be displayed."

“As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned", said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (John 9:1-3).

Jesus Christ showed us how to treat the sick, poor, marginalized and disabled: ”Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous" (Luke 14:12-14).

The poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind are not on the "invited lists" as they should be. Today, I am sifting through some "un-invited list" hurts, and lifting them up to the Lord. As I work to focus my thoughts on the wonderful priests, nuns, lay people, and school communities God has placed on our family's path, I see that I must also acknowledge the pain and rejection we have experienced by the others.

As a daughter of the King, I shall put on the armor of God and stand tall. I, we, our children have the right to say who and what we are. "We are children of God, wonderfully and fearfully made!"

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me remember that these "understanding gap" experiences, though painful, are opportunities to rest in You, to learn, and to teach. Help me to know how to conduct myself with dignity when I or my child is being wronged. Help me to know when You want me to step forward and speak out. Thank you for sitting with me today and listening to my mother's heart cries. With You I can be still. With You I can be. With You I am always on the "Invited List."

Love, Theresa -- If We Are The Body