Sunday, February 01, 2015

Different-Shaped People

I'm not halfway through my latest book, Same Lake, Different Boat:  Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability, and I had to put the book down to write an impromptu post.  I love special ministries . . . a lot.  I've loved the company of disabled people for as long as I can remember.  My friend, C.C., immediately came to mind when I thought back on sweet and funny moments I've spent with people with different shapes.  C.C. was (and still is) in a wheelchair.  We met at a college Bible study, and soon I was going to her house weekly to do a book study on Proverbs . . . or James . . . maybe both.  I also drove C.C. to Bible study.  It wasn't easy for my scrawny little 100-pound self.  There were a few injuries and mishaps that I won't go into.  I look back on my journals from those years, and they are filled with the physical challenge:  how confident or scared I felt lifting her, how I'd drop her if I had to sneeze, how I needed to eat more spinach, and finally, the celebratory day when I lifted her and didn't feel like I might drop her.  The thing I remember most about C.C., though, is how much fun-unadulterated fun and squeals of laughter-we had as we exchanged witty banter, and I made ridiculous guesses as to what she was trying to say, and as she watched me fumble about like the clumsy and awkward teenager I was as I did my best to take care of her.  (I realize this sounds like a eulogy, but it's only in the past tense because that was in college-20 years ago.  You can put away the tissue boxes.)  One very important thing was that I never saw C.C. as a project or ministry-she was (and is) my friend.  She was one of the first people I told when Device Guy asked me to be his wife--and that was a funny story in itself.  I showed C.C. the ring, and she acknowledged it as being a nice gift, clearly not understanding the significance.  I lowered my voice and repeated that Device Guy had given me a ring, this time asking her to take notice of which finger it was on.  It all clicked then, and the air rang with her signature laugh.  My point is this:  special ministries is about people and family and friends; it's not just projects or a ministry.

To reinforce my bookishness, I was sold on this book the second I saw that it is endorsed by Susan Hunt, one of my all-time favorite authors.  She lives and breathes family and cherishes church family.  Her books are among my most treasured possessions.

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