This is one of those posts that write themselves...and I have A LOT of links today...but please take the time to read them!
In my head it started out in my personal blog. More a philosophical post than anything else...and it morphed with a conversation I had with my best friend while she was over here this week...and then it wrapped itself into a few news articles that I've seen lately, and culminated into one giant chunk...which is interesting in and of itself...and only underscores the idea as a whole.
One thing led to another with my best friend and we got to discussing Elise and the reactions that her kids have to her. Which then led to the reactions adult people have to her, and how they influence how their children see her. Which led to parents that refuse to acknowledge there are differences in their own children and fail to support their own child's needs in the pretension that they are perfect and nothing is wrong. I have hit on almost all of these subjects over the last couple of years in this blog...so I'll save those for another day...
But this morning, that conversation came back to me when I saw the Facebook status of a college friend of mine...who is now a youth minister:
"I fear we are becoming a people who give up too easily...a people who fear hard things...a people accustomed to comfort. This is weighing on my soul tonight."
I responded carelessly: "That extrapolates to all areas of life: spirituality, health, morality, disabilities, and success!"
And then I started really thinking...
We don't want a real religion that controls our decisions, because then we have to abide by it.
We don't want a real relationship with Christ, because it will be hard if we don't act on his words, because then he will be sad for us.
We don't want to be healthy, because then we have to eat healthfully, cook from scratch and plan ahead. We would have to question what scientists and politicians are doing to our food.
We don't want to exercise because it will make us hot and hurt.
We don't want to think of new ways to do business, because we won't enter the workforce with a secure salary.
We don't want to go out on our own because we will have to build up our current business again from square one, so we mumble under our breath and dread going to work.
We don't want to do the right thing when faced with moral issues, because we might be judged by others or forced to question others' decisions.
We don't want to have a child with disabilities, because it will be more work, and we may never have an empty nest...and they may place more responsibilities on our other children.
That final thought goes back to one of my all time favorite links of how disability is "natural."
Which brings us to these two articles:
I read this one about a class picture in which a child in a wheelchair was completely separated from his class in a school picture in the Huffington Post:
My first reaction was:
I am a parent with a child with special needs. And a former teacher. I have significant sympathy to the situation. I can see how it happened, and am glad they are planning to retake it. Do I think the teacher should have been more aware and said something? Yes. Do I think it is worthy of a media stink? No. Does it completely anger me that this has made it to the media, but the fact that this nation chronically allows teachers to abuse children with special needs to remain in their classrooms after documented abuse and nothing is said? Absolutely.
Then I read this blog post. Apparently the only other option is to remove all indication that the child is "not normal"?
And that sat even more badly with me.
And I have fumed over it for hours. Why do we refuse to acknowledge that life is hard? Why do we refuse to invite those with differences into our lives? Why do we separate ourselves under the premise that it is easier for "Them" to be with "Those Like Them"??? It is the age old: The disability/illness/so-on is catching?
Are we afraid that it will ruin our lives?
Even though there is EVIDENCE that is simply not the case???
How is it that no one chooses to see this as this generation's Segregation??
Even under circumstances that shriek for justice, like the death of Ethan Saylor, the disability is blamed for everything: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/26/robert-ethan-saylor_n_2958777.html
And the system turns a blind eye to the tragedy, even in the face of unanswered questions: http://your4state.com/fulltext?nxd_id=306392
I feel like we are isolating ourselves from peace and contentment. Politically, spiritually, and relationally. Even churches have challenges about stuff getting in the way of peace:
Churches are having whole sermon series focusing on challenges about bad church experiences:
We are even having to PAY people to listen to our problems, instead of opening up our hearts to friends for prayer, advice, support, or even just sympathetic tears...
I looked on YouTube for the shrink clip in Crocodile Dundee, and couldn't find it. You'll have to watch it for yourself, in the meantime here's my favorite quote on "mates":
Sue Charlton: People go to a psychiatrist to talk about their problems. She just needed to unload them. You know, bring them out in the open.
Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee: Hasn't she got any mates?
Sue Charlton: You're right. I guess we could all use more mates. I suppose you don't have any shrinks at Walkabout Creek.
Michael J. "Crocodile" Dundee: No back there if you got a problem you tell Wally. And he tells everyone in town, brings it out in the open, no more problem.
We are trying to make everything safe work, philosophy, church, friendships. We are trying to pad and protect our lives from sadness and catastrophe. And yet, those that step away from the safety net are the ones that find the most fulfillment.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."
"I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love."
~ Mother Teresa