Friday, March 30, 2007

His Pleasure

“You shaped me first inside, then out; You formed me in my mother’s womb” Ps 139: 13

My encounters across the world with the disabled are quite similar, they have a culture all their own and spoken language is oftentimes a non-issue. I found it true with the children and adults living at the Mother Teresa home in Kandy, Sri Lanka. We were given approval for our visit, but with conditions: restricted photographs, no videos, and we must understand the children are in a severe state. Once inside the confines of the compound, we discovered a wide diversity of age and disability among the residents. They ranged from infants (abandoned for various reasons) to the aged (finding shelter and friendship), from severely impaired by disabilities to simply despairing from poverty. Some were reserved, some were frightened (by the over stimulation), but there were also affectionate enthusiasts. I pictured them all as my dear sweet Jesus.

A grinning girl jumped up from her seat when I walked through the gates - giggling, smiling, grabbing my hand, mumbling an enthusiastic greeting. But here is why I could so easily picture the hand of my Master reaching out to me through her: she walked me around the room and introduced me to her friends, when they were scared or pulled back she would reassure them I was okay. She would pat me or hug me and encourage them to do the same. Some were terribly disfigured; diseased hands outreached waiting and wanting to be touched. It was as if He was saying: “This one needs you, this one needs to feel accepted, and this one needs to be shown My love. Let Me introduce you to My friends, those I hold in the highest esteem!”

You might assume they wouldn’t (or couldn’t) or even shouldn’t be entertained by “tricks” and stories – oh, but there you would be mistaken. And as for assembling “volunteers” for the stories - they were eager to come forward and be a part of what was happening up front. They donned the silly hats and props like contestants in a Beauty Pageant, and in so many ways they were!

It was His handiwork that formed them in the mother’s womb, deemed them acceptable, lovely and desirable just as they are. I told the story “The Legend of the Daisy” (God creating the flowers just for beauty’s sake). The Rose asks to be important -the Tulip wants to be admired but not used - the Violet too shy to come out of her forest of fear. And then there is the Daisy, enthusiastically asking to be scattered abundantly to bring joy and happiness into the lives of children.

Today, as those perhaps least beautiful by the world’s standards, laughed, smiled, and took delight in being “chosen” to participate and be “used”, my eyes didn't take in the brokenness or the tragedy - in fact before me I saw HIS field of Daisies.