Thursday, May 31, 2007

the Lord God made them all...

They are children trapped in old people’s bodies.
They are Joan, and Sharon, and Paddy, and oh so many others who live in a home just around the corner from me. Their bodies have lived faster than their minds. So they have inquisitive, playful, irresponsible, naughty, short tempered, kind, easily distracted childlike thoughts. But these thoughts are contained in bodies that have lived for fifty, sixty, seventy – and in once case ninety-three – years.

Life has been difficult for their families, as their parents have had to come to terms with a differently-abled child. And then the worry about providing for the future of a beloved child/adult. And then the heart-sore decision to place them in a home that can care for them in ways that an aging parent cannot. So there has been sadness.

But today was a birthday party. This home from home, Adam’s Farm, was turning ninety years old. I was invited to share cake and tea. I was invited because I have come to know them on Sunday Mornings. They come to church and sit in the pew halfway down on the right hand side of the church. This is “their” pew – and beware anyone who sits here by mistake. They will be told to move up, probably by Paddy. And when it comes to the part in the service when we celebrate special occasions one of them will claim a birthday (I am convinced that they decide in advance whose turn it is). And then Sharon will thank the congregation for praying for her family, and Joan will ask to sing “All things bright and beautiful”.

But they are good for our church. They remind us that God loves “all creatures great and small”. And their presence helps to knock the arrogance out of those of us who believe that our intellectual abilities can bring us closer to discovering God. And their participation is a wonderful reminder that we do not have to be “perfect” in order to be loved by God.

And so I shared in today’s service of thanksgiving. We sang “All things bright and beautiful”, and some prayed short uninhibited prayers about people we did not know but who were clearly loved by the child/adults, and then the happy clatter as we scrambled for the tea. And many pushed and shoved to get their pictures taken.

And I came home grateful for the blessing they brought into my day.

5 comments:

digitaldion said...

Pete, have I ever told you, you're one of the good ones... that's why I love you!

Anonymous said...

Pete, thanks for your words! I always get inspired by your style and contents. Thanks for your honesty. I wish you could take time off and write and write ... Sorry for the loss of your beloved running partner/friend/scoundrel. My vet once said to me " you will always outlive your pets" ... some consolation! I heard about the cape synod protest. Good on you. We 5 Greylings are well. " As it is in heaven ..."

Emily Oliver said...

Hi Pete, this is Emily-- my husband Andy and I are coming from the US to visit with you in South Africa in August. Thanks for the info in the mail! We've been keeping up with your blogs and the happenings of the Methodist Church in South Africa lately. I must say, being liberal theological outcasts in American Methodism in the South, we are enjoying getting to know you and Dion through your blogs, and look forward to meeting you soon! We will also have cycling, running, and love of dogs in common. See ya in a couple of months!

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bugs said...

Hey Pete, thanks for putting things into perspective again!

Sometimes i cant help wondering if these 'child-adults' are not the real lucky ones! they do not try to over-anylize everything; They believe without questioning; and they love without boundaries. I am reminded of Jesus' words: "unless you become like children..."