When we lived in the group home with 12, Joshua would often ask me, "Mom do you think you'll cry when 'so and so dies'?" We had several residents who were older and in frail health and we knew that it was only a matter of time before one of them passed away. I always answered that I would be sad, but that I didn't think I would cry.
I was wrong. I received a phone call this morning that one of the women had passed away. And I cried. And I cried. And I cried.
People often question why God allows people to be born with certain disabilities. People who are classified as "retarded" by the world are often dismissed as being incapable of doing anything to really make a difference. They are many times tossed to the side to be cared for the best we know how while life goes on.
If someone had told me 15 or even 10 years ago that I would work with people with developmental disabilities, I would have laughed in their face. I was one of those people who was really intimidated by them because they often lack inhibition and will act in strange ways very spontaneously. Previous blog entries confirm that this is many times the case. However, God sometimes puts in positions that we don't want to be in so He can show us His Glory. That's what's happened to me.
My life has been touched by people with disabilities. I've laughed more, been more frustrated, rejoiced more, cried more, and in general experienced more because of the people with whom I am associated. I have seen God in them. I have loved them and they have loved me; even when I am not very lovable, they have still loved me. They have made me a different person. I have a new understanding of mercy and grace. I am humbled by the fact that my God loves me and enjoys being with me, even though compared to Him, I am "retarded" and I often do really stupid things that lack inhibition and act in strange ways, not His ways.
A person with developmental disabilities can make a difference. They've made a difference in me. I can't wait until I can sit down in Heaven with some of the individuals with whom we have worked and lived and thank them for showing me who God is, and how then we should live.