I was fully prepared to write a post today about Fakebook, err I mean Facebook, but when checking blog comments yesterday afternoon regarding my last post, I was unexpectedly hit with a paragraph from a lady so full of insight and emotion that it changed my whole course of direction.
I would love to take a brief moment to introduce Carol – so you know a little bit about the lady behind the comment – but truth be told, I know nothing about her. Carol and I have never met. I simply wrote a post a few days ago – Why Are We So Afraid To Embrace the Different. She simply commented on that post yesterday. Our worlds have momentarily aligned. She made me cry. End of story.
I will refrain from giving too much of a lead-in – because her valuable insight certainly doesn’t need any bells and whistles – but I will say this: If you can’t feel her passion grabbing you through your computer screen, then there just might be something wrong with you. Passionate people like Carol affect me – like I said, she made me cry. I hope she affects you too.
Without further ado, Carol, take it away…
“A friend of mine had posted your blog on her Facebook the other day. I read it with interest as I have parented, worked, and befriended parents with children with disabilities. I understand and can appreciate what you are saying – all of us are a little different and we need to love each other.
There are children/adults with disabilities that will bless us in ways we never dreamed, and give us life perspective we never thought of. But you see, it goes way beyond the handshake; beyond the unspoken social cues. These adults and children deeply desire to experience true friendship, and what I am about to say needs to be said…
What about the kid in the corner at Sunday School that refuses to join in with the other children? Is he being willfully disobedient or does he have a sensory overload and can’t understand the social cues of the game? He also hums while he cuts his picture out, and the other kids imitate him. Eventually that child moves up to the youth group. The kids now understand he is not like them. He even understands he is not like them. Sure, they will go as far as to say hello, but that’s it. Asking him to be on their team during a youth activity is too much out of their comfort zone. He has now turned 18 and is considered an adult. He has never experienced receiving an invitation to hang out. So why go to church? It’s crowded and noisy and what is fellowship when: A. you don’t understand the emotions and social cues? B. when you’ve never experienced genuine community?
I have just described my son.
Cindy, I encourage you to go beyond the handshake. I encourage you to ask them what interests them, invite them out with your social group, and show them by your actions that God loves them and that THAT is the deeper meaning of fellowship in the body of Christ.”
Uh, see what I mean? *waterworks*
I cried for two reasons…
1. What if this were my son? How would I want people to treat him if he walked through the doors of church – a place that preaches ‘love thy neighbour’?
2. Her insight is about SO much more than just about her son… it’s about the people who dress different… the people who smell different… the people who swear in church *gasp*… the people who need a smoke break as soon as the sermon is finished… the people who sing a little too loud during worship… the people who sit in the back row and bolt as soon as it’s done because they don’t know all the (cheesy) church lingo… it’s about every single person who has ever felt like a fish out of water in church – the very place they are supposed to feel accepted and embraced.
I cried because there are hundreds of people hurting in the seats RIGHT NEXT TO US, and we’re in a rush to get to Swiss Chalet.
Dear Carol, thank you. I have taken your insight to heart. I promise to do what you have asked of me – to go beyond the handshake. But I will also take it one step further, I promise to raise my boys to be the kind of men who will extend invitations for hangout to “your son.”
…Love your neighbour as yourself…