Today, I spoke to one of our wonderful volunteers.  Each week she attends Special Gathering which is a ministry within the mentally challenged community.  Our purpose is to evangelize and disciple our population.  But Iris understands that the best evangelism and discipleship can be done after applying a lavish application of love.

She has worked with us for more than two years.  Faithfully and quietly, Iris has inched her way into our hearts.  Our members look forward to her steady and growing desire to help and love them. She gently guides and assists our most physically unstable members through the maze of people during the hustle and bustle of Sunday morning. 

Last week, she suffered an attack on her health.  Her family was called because of her critical condition as she hung vicariously between life and death.  She will have a long recovery time.  Her children live in the northern part of the state.  They are begging her to move in with them.  However, she is waiting until “I can no longer live by myself.” 

Isn’t independence highly overrated under these conditions?

Last week I received two phone calls from people who had children who were interested in attending Special Gathering.  One was a father.  His adult daughter explained the situation to me.  Sadly, she told me her father hardly knew his son because his ex-wife and their mother struggled to remain independent of him and wouldn’t let him help to raise their disabled child.  Last month, she had a heart attack and died suddenly.  Now the father and his son are struggling to adjust to their new circumstance. 

At this point in time, this mother’s independence seems to be a highly overrated commodity that will dearly cost her son for years to come.

A member told me yesterday that he won’t be attending our program any longer.  He wants more independence.  When quizzed it seems that one of the professionals who works with him objects to the “interference” of our volunteers.  She feels he needs to be more independent.   The interference she talks about consists of a few simple things.  They give him free rides to bowling and social events.  They take him to lunch, invite him to family dinners and include him at celebrations in their homes.  I was deeply hurt about what is happening.

Will independence for this member come with the loss of friends who value him enough to want to include him in their lives and family? How overrated is this kind of independence?

I try to tell myself each day, “Independence is highly overrated” so that when my time comes to lose that commodity it won’t be more precious than the love and protection of family and friends. 

Have you seen times that people put themselves or others in jeopardy because they weren’t willing to give up their independence?