After reading my last three entries, I think this blog needs a new copy editor.  Of course, I’ve been the copy editor all these months but I was really tired when I typed these entries and it shows.  By the time you read this, I hope I’ve had the time to correct all the errors (I can find).  If not, please excuse the typos.

For years, I billed myself as the world’s worst typist but one of the world’s best mistake fixers.  This ability to fix mistakes has extended far beyond my typing abilities and some of my biggest mistakes have become the most creative items.  This skill has served me well, especially during the years I’ve ministered within the mentally challenged community through Special Gathering.  As a ministry, we don’t do group homes or rehab.  We do classic ministry:  evangelism and discipleship.    

Here are some of the things I’ve found that are easy to fix. 

  1. Any thing typed into a computer.  Computers are very forgiving.
  2. Christmas costumes that don’t fit.  Pins and tape and rope can sometimes make these flowing garments look even more authentic.
  3. Chairs that aren’t arranged correctly.  Moving and straightening is a scinch.
  4. My own bad attitude.  A friend once told me that you can get glad in the same skin you got mad in.  That philosophy has served me well.
  5. A misunderstanding with a member.  The mentally challenged community is almost too easy to please. 

I could name lots more but you get the picture.  Nevertheless, there are some things that are almost impossible to fix.

  1. Names that are spelled wrong in the data base.  Somehow, they mysteriously and constantly revert back to the old spelling.
  2. A misunderstanding with a volunteer.  Our most valuable commodity is our volunteers.  They work long hours with no pay and little recognition from the church-at-large.  Hurting them is a crushing blow to the ministry and risks the loss of a good friend.
  3. The optimism of parents with a disabled child. 

Let me explain.  A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a parent.  We quietly observed a young mother with a teenaged daughter who is mentally challenged.  “She has all these grand and glorious plans,”  the older parent commented.  “I hate to burst her balloon with reality.”

“Would it really help?”  I asked.

“No,” she smiled.  “Somehow during those hard years when every other child is moving on and progressing into adulthood, it is only the hope and dreams of a future that keeps you from falling into a depression.  But it isn’t reality.”

The interesting thing is that this is an older parent who has been extremely demanding on her child; and it seems that her daughter, Missy, has met those expectations.  However, she is admitting that the reality of her daughter’s life circumstances is far less than she and her husband had expected. 

“I’m not sad for Missy,” she concluded as her own daughter approached us. “Missy has forged for herself a different reality and she is happy.  But it is not what I expected.  Not what I hope for.  Yet it’s good and I’m okay.”

We sat quietly for a few minutes as Missy fiddled with her backpack.  Then it was time to leave.  As this mother and her daughter, Missy, joined hands and slowly moved away from me, I was reminded that the Bible tells us, “Hope does not disappoint.”  I’ve never understood that reality but I’ve seen the truth of that promise time and time again.

Hope that defies reality may not be accurate but it sustains the broken hearted and allows us to walk into an unknown future with grace and joy.  Often, as in Missy’s life, reality doesn’t meet with expectation but God gives a settling peace that grows from a hopeful spirit. 

Perhaps there are some things that don’t need to be fixed.