Monday, October 29, 2012

God Lives Under the Bed!


I envy Kevin. My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night. 

He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed....' 

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in. 

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.
He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them. 

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? 

Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed. 

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child. 

He does not seem dissatisfied. 

He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. 

He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.
And Saturdays - oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. 'That one's goin' to Chi-car-go! ' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.

His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.
And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.
He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.
His life is simple.
He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.
His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.
He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.
He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.
He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.
Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.
Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.
In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.
It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.
It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap. I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care.
Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.
And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.
Kevin won't be surprised at all !

I heard a very interesting story the other day by a blind man.......he said it's interesting to figure out who people are when you're blind.  I have to rely on instincts a lot.  You see -- I don't know race, I don't know beauty.  All I know is what comes out of people's mouths and what's in their heart!  I was reminded of all of this this weekend as I sat in the pew listening (and proclaiming!) the readings for the weekend....and then heard Father's homily.

He was discussing how Bartimaeus asked for one simple thing -- to be able to see.  But did he really want to see with his eyes, or his heart, and his spirit?  So often, when we see things with our eyes, we miss the real point, or the real meaning of something.  I have often heard that you don't see blind people who are overweight -- because they stop eating when they are full, not realizing that there may be an entire table of food right before them!   How does that compare?  I think it compares in a big way -- you get what you need.  Do I want to be blind?  Of course not.  I don't think anyone wishes they were -- but those that are do indeed have some special gifts.

Father closed his homily yesterday with a very interesting phrase that I promised myself I wouldn't forget -- so someone made a meme to help me remember (not that they made it for me, but I'm using it!):

I hope to never forget this.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Exciting Announcement!

I am THRILLED to announce to you that I have been asked to be a keynote speaker at the upcoming Perfectly Imperfect Woman Retreat to be held at the Spiritual Center in Maria Stein on November 9-10.

Last year was the first year this retreat was held and the organizers were overwhelmed with the number of registrations they received.  They thought they would be happy if 50 women came out.  I remember Robin Goettemoeller texting me more than once telling me the registrations were coming out of the woodwork!  Women were hungry to be fed the word of God -- and titling it Perfectly Imperfect Women was "perfect"!!!

My friend Kimi Brown and I will be discussing "Modern Day Imperfect Women"......hmmmm.....why were we chosen?  LOL  It's not like I just threw my clothes in the hamper because I had spaghetti sauce all over them.  LOL

The evening will start with mass -- I have heard the presider is "awesome" and cannot wait to experience his mass.  Kimi and I will speak directly afterwards, and then I will be doing a presentation on "four ingredient meals" -- probably with samples.  Fr. Dan Schmitmeyer has fed directly into my recipe selection this year -- so we are good to go with recipes!

Of course wine is on the agenda for the evening!!!

In the morning, I will be sitting on a panel discussing "tweens" -- the fun times in life!!!  :)  Women looking for  someone to discuss their "woes" with -- and there will be panels for all age groups!  My friend Jamie Schmiesing is also speaking first thing in the morning -- can't wait to hear what she cooks up to talk about -- she is amazing!

I've attached the flyer in a new section I made up above called "upcoming events".  Click on that and then you can click on the flyer to see times, etc.  I'm really impressed at the price of this event -- it includes an overnight stay if you want -- and meals while you are come join us if  you can!!!

(And, I've called it upcoming events plural because maybe, just maybe, you'll be seeing me speak other places.)  God is so freaking good sometimes!!!  :)

Are you coming?  Let me know if I should look for you!