At times over the past two years, I’ve wanted to start another blog under a different name.  You know the kind I’m talking about.  They are posted by people with names like churchmama or creepypaulinemonster.  In my fantasy blog, I would talk about things other than disability ministry.  I’d let everyone who cared to know about the things that irk me about non-Christians and Christians alike.  I’d spout my philosophy about all manner of things, godly and secular. 

However, after a few moments of pondering, I reconsider and that is a good thing.

There are some things that are better left unsaid.  Some experiences shouldn’t be shared.  One axiom of good writing is “don’t share too much. Don’t embarrassed the reader by getting too intimately personal.”  Some things are TMI.  Readers are left feeling as though they have opened a door that they should not have opened and walked into some shameful secret room that exposed the deep hurts of a close friend that was no one’s business.

Yet, I wonder if parents of children with disabilities aren’t left with that concern everyday.  Jenny was loud and could not control her yelps.  The members of their church would gawk and stare, then turn fitfully away when Jenny’s parents glanced at them.  The parent’s  glances were never met with smiles but straight faces that showed neither joy nor sorrow, anger nor concern.   Mark’s father and mother were accustomed to the food smears that seemed to land uninvited on Mark’s face during meal time.  Yet, when dining in a restaurant, there were other diners who would ask to be moved away from them.  After a time, the family stopped trying to eat in a public place with their son, even though this was one of the things he enjoyed most.

For many years, after becoming a part of Special Gathering, I would smile at people with disabilities that I encountered in public.  On occasion, I would attempt to engage them in conversation.  I noticed that a good friend who was a sibling to a person who is disabled would not do this.  He never engaged them nor did he turn away.  He treated a person with a disability as though they were a normal, unseen event.  I observed him closely for years.  As I became more a part of the disability community, I came to understand.  There are times that people within the disability community merely long to be one of the crowd.  A non person.  One who is unnoticed and inoffensive.  Being the neighborhood novelty gets old quickly. 

And so people with disabilities and their parents often live in a schizophrenic world, pleading to be understood for who they are with one half of their soul and wanting to be treated like any other normal human being with the other half.  More than any other portion of society, our population understands there are some things that are best like unsaid and unseen. 

Today, during Special Gathering, there were three outburst of crying by three separate members.  One young woman wanted to do a task that I’d assigned to someone else.  She wept pitifully when I told her that she would have to wait her turn.  Another lady began to cry loudly as we were sharing something  “good about ourselves and our lives.”  Her pet rabbit had died that morning ;and when she thought about him, she became emotional and cried so hard that she couldn’t explain to us what was the matter.  Then in a few minutes, one of our long-time members was asked to move away from the door and come back into the room where everyone was working to clean up after our party.  He became so angry that he, too, burst into tears of frustration.

With each outburst, the other members quietly slipped away, giving the distraught person a private moment so he or she could get control of his/her emotions again.  As often happens, I was amazed at the God-given wisdom displayed by our members.  They exhibited a pattern of behavior that was not only appropriate but extremely sensitive and thoughtful. 

Perhaps I won’t become an anonymous blogger, after all.  Think I’ll  keep doing what I’m doing.  It seems that each day there are new things to learn from our members and new adventures in love to share.

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