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."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pz0EhFEH-U -- If We Are The Body