Several years ago, I read a most disappointing book, Moby Dick.  It wasn’t required reading for me in high school and I’m glad because I would have never been able to get through the pages and pages of boring maritime narrative.  The one thing that did strike me was that in the 1800’s these sailors were able to follow the stars with such accuracy and precision. 

As I typed the title of this entry, I couldn’t help but realize that none of us can ever understand ourcomplex voyage.  I’m writing this as the result of a request by a good friend who is also a parent and volunteer that I work closely with in Special Gathering.  We are a ministry within the mentally challenged community that emphasizes the importance of evangelizing and discipling people who are intellectually delayed. 

My friend slipped a short note in my hand one day at bowling.  “You need to write about this.”  She is in her early 70’s.  Her husband is 80.  They have worked with their grandson for more than 20 years.  Mack is higher functioning than most of his peers.  Yet, when he came to live with them at 12 years old, he was much lower functioning than his fellow students who were also mentally challenged.  Over the years, they have helped, prodded, prayed, totted, pleaded and, finally, rejoiced in his progress. 

Now he feels ready to live on his own and totally support himself.  However, there are still many gaps in his abilities and understanding.  Time and again, her eyes plead with me that I help him to grasp the importance of being patient and allowing God to work out the circumstances. 

But there is little that anyone can do to help.  “I’m moving to another state and work with my sister,” Mack announced one morning. 

He immediately got on the phone and called his sister.  Politely, she explained that she lived in a rural area where there were no jobs for him and he couldn’t come an live with her and her husband.  Undeterred, he told his employer that he would be moving to live with his sister and that he was giving his notice. 

Mack requested that he get a transfer to another restaurant in the chain in the state where his sister lived.  The employer tried to explain that in their chain of restaurants there aren’t automatic transfers and he would need to apply for a job when he arrived at this new home. 

Mack came home and told his grandparents that he had a promise of a transfer and he would be needed in two weeks.  He wanted them to begin packing his bags in order for him to move.

Confused and disturbed, they tried to reason with him but he was steadfast in his determination.  Finally, they called his sister who explained that he could not move in with them and the situation would be unworkable.  Then they called his employer who relayed the correct information to them regarding a job transfer.

Realizing that in his desire to move, Mack was getting things terribly confused, they tried to reason with him.  He continued to misunderstand the situation, blaming them for once again holding him back from his desires.  Eventually, they told him that if he were to move they would do nothing to stop him or help him.  Of course, within weeks, he had to put away his dream but in his mind his grandparents were to blame.

“What could we do differently?”  my friend asks herself often. 

The answer is probably:  Nothing.  As we all know but seldom understand, in this life there are no easy answers.  Being a Christian may even add to the complexities for a time.  Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians, “Now we see through a glass darkly, but then we will see face to face.”  Therefore, we can rest in the knowledge that even though we will never fully understand our journey, we can rest in Christ’s love. 

Mack no longer talks about moving to be with his sister.  He no longer rages with his grandparents because they won’t let him go.  But his voyage is even more complex than his loving mentors because he is not able to understand any of the navigational markings. 

However, there is a peace back in the home as they pray together and struggle to better understand each other’s needs.  Perhaps that is all we can really hope for–peace during our complex voyage through life.

Do you thing that our men go though a mid-life crisis?  If so, what are some ways that you have found to help your members?