Saturday, February 28, 2009

Taste and See

"Taste and see the goodness of the Lord."

When Taylor was an infant, we would spoon feed her and have to tell her everything we were putting in her mouth. Imagine if you will, being force fed food having absolutely no clue what was going in your mouth. Sometimes, well oftentimes, she would spit out the food entirely no matter where we were. Other times, she would suffer through a mouthful, and still others, she would endure a few more bites or even ask for more.

It was never "fair" when we didn't tell her what was coming her way or when. We'd expect her to just open up and taste it all. Again, the same reactions...great, horrible, or maybe I'll try it again. The worst was when we were in a hurry and trying to make her eat quickly, chew quickly, swallow quickly, or I'm ashamed to admit...give another bite before she was even finished with the previous one.

It struck me one day that many non-Christians probably feel this way about Christianity. (It helps that I've read unChristian, a book about the non-Christian's perspective on Christians and Christianity.) We are so passionate about what we love and want everyone to experience it as well. We can try to force feed too much too fast. We can keep forcing the same "dining choices." Or we can keep trying a little bit at a time and see how it's "digested." We might even hear after our message is "spit out," that later the same message had been received. I think we need to be conscientious about who we're asking to "Taste and See" and what the response is. We can never give up, but we do need to be aware.

Welcome to Holland

This is a poem I was given when Taylor was first born. What a perfect description of life with a handicapped child. I also feel it is applicable to every person who is dealt a set of circumstances over which there is no control but to look for the tulips and windmills...that is, everyone...

Welcome To Holland
by Emily Perl Kingsley
I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It’s just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Visually Impaired Skiier/Spiritually Impaired Christian

So Taylor went skiing last weekend in Big Bear with her BRIGHT orange...and I do mean Cal-Trans bright vest announcing to everyone that she is Visually Impaired and that the two ladies with her were her Visually Impaired Skiier Guides. It really is a sight that can't be missed. The vests literally scream out, "Look out below!!!"

It was our second visit to the slopes and the wonderful adaptive ski school at Bear Mountain. The volunteers who work with handicapped children and adults to make skiing accessible to all are amazing! Inspiring to say the least! The first time I saw Taylor heading down the mountain last year, my eyes swelled with tears. I wasn't quite prepared for the swirling emotions and was thankful the tears stayed at bay or they may have turned to icicles right there on my cheeks!

This year watching Taylor and her helpers made me think of all of us who could easily be wearing a huge sign advertising our "Spiritually Impaired Christianity." All of us have times in our lives we feel low, areas we need to work on in our walks with God, times we can be guides to others, and times we want to reach a new peak. How often do we ask for help like Taylor received as the skiier? How often do we help others in need expecting nothing in return like the volunteers? How often do we look to the Bible or other people asking for help when we need it? The resources are there, we need to be honest about where we are and where we can go.

I actually took Taylor down the slopes for the second half of the day, and I am not much of a skiier. It also made me think of how often we can ask for help without thinking of the source. Why not go to the BEST...our Lord! He wears that bright vest every day announcing His guidance and saving power... his vest just happens to be scarred hands, feet, and sides. Are you getting the best advice possible and then reaching out to the people He places in your midst?