Monday, February 8, 2010

Our angels here on Earth

Here is an email I received that made me think of our special angels God has given us to raise and cherish. If you have a special needs child, you know it is difficult but I know TC has taught me to take things slower and cherish the good.


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 said.
'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!


BEE said...

oh i love it
it is so true

Bina said...

Did you write this? Cause damn girl, it is SO good! It should be entered in a writing competition for an Autism magazine, or something like that cause I bet it would win.

Wonderufully done. And, my sister with Down Syndrome has the mental capacity of a 7 year old as well.