>> Monday, December 12, 2011
“Are you there, God? Where are you? Oh, I see. You’re under the bed….”
I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin’s unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.
He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he’s 6’ 2”); there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a seven-year old … and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.
I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? He is up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni and cheese for dinner, and then to bed. The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.
He does not seem dissatisfied.
He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner. He stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day’s laundry chores. And Saturdays – oh, the bliss of Saturdays. That’s the day my dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside.
“That one’s goin’ to Chi-car-go,” Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.
His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights. And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn’t know what it means to be discontent.
His life is simple.
He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met and he never worries that one day they may not be. His hands are diligent. Kevin is never as happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not leave a job until it is finished.
When his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent and sincere.
He trusts God. Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God – to really be friends with Him – in a way that is difficult for an “educated” person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.
In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.
God seems like his closest companion.
It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap. I am. My obligations, fear, pride and circumstances – they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God’s care.
Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence – soaking up the goodness and love of God. And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts – I’ll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed God lived under his bed.
Kevin won’t be surprised at all.
“Don't dare talk pretentiously— not a word of boasting, ever! For God knows what's going on. He takes the measure of everything that happens. The weapons of the strong are smashed to pieces, while the weak are infused with fresh strength. The well-fed are out begging in the streets for crusts, while the hungry are getting second helpings. The barren woman has a houseful of children, while the mother of many is bereft.” 1st Samuel 2:2-5 (MSG)