I spent my older teen years waiting for the mail to arrive.  I dated a sailor in those days and he wrote me about twice a week.  His scripts were the most uninteresting letters you could ever imagine.  It was interesting, nevertheless, to be able to get mail and so each afternoon after school, I waited…and waited.

I learned early that waiting, rather than living, was an amazing waste of time and a sad way to spend a life.  Even so, it is commonly known that our members who are mentally challenged spend a great deal of their lives waiting.  Each day, they wait for the bus or the van.  They ride some hours waiting for the bus to arrive at their work place.  They wait for someone to help them with this and that.   At the beginning of each year, Special Gathering members start a five-month wait for camp.  They pack their bags in March and then wait two more months for the big days to arrive.

For years, I have thought about finding ways to help our members make their waiting time more productive.  It is true that they have developed a great deal of patience in the interim.  But couldn’t it become a time of personal growth?  People who read often take a book, newspaper or magazine, catching up with their reading.  The great majority of our members either don’t read at all or reading is a hard exercise, rather than a pleasure. 

Writing letters would be equally difficult.  Arts and crafts are one possibility.  But this can be expensive.  Selfishly speaking for everyone who knows and loves mentally challenged people, I don’t need or want any more cute trinkets for my book shelves. 

One option is listening to an iPod or CD player of Bible tapes.  Another is listening to Christian books or Christian music.  Again, there are problems.  The most inexpensive recorded Bible version is the King James Version.  Many of our members cannot easily understand this version of the scriptures.  Christian books are understood by our members.  When I have ridden with our members when a Christian book is playing, they understand and enjoy these books. 

These aren’t profound or even impressive thoughts but they are the things I have seen work.  Do you have thoughts that can add to the discussion?  Or do you think this is a waste of time?  If so, why?  And how do we impliment these suggestions into the lives of our members?

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