How to be a better person? # 31 DEALING WITH INTERRUPTIONS

We do not live in a perfect world.  Things do happen unexpectedly.  We were interrupted by the death of a loved one.  Our nephew’s sudden death, at sixty, led some of us to reconsider how we deal with interruptions.  We surprised ourselves how ill prepared we are in accepting people whose lives have been altered by disabilities.  We talked as if the disabled had no right to have a life.  We were puzzled why a person that was not mentally impaired would choose to marry a disabled?  That hit close to home because I am a handicapped and the lady that married me must have been out of her mind.  I just could not let go and several days later the words of Jesus bore heavily on my mind particularly, for my being here at this time.  Jesus healed a blind man and His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he is blind?”  Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life” (Jn. 9:2-3).
An accident interrupted my life and left me with scars not appealing to women interested in marrying a handicapped person.  I was warned that I would be rejected; not just by the ladies, but also in my professional endeavor.  People do look on appearance before they consider a person’s ability.  Nevertheless, an exceptionally fair looking young lady was brave enough to become my mate for life.  Together, we have raised three sons that have given us lovely daughters-in-law and eight grandchildren.  Is it not amazing for one that was not expected to be a parent?  In my professional field, we reached the top in education, taught pastors and Ph.D. levels, served churches, wrote books and articles and continue to sermonize on a Blog.  My wife and I believe we are leaving something for posterity that shall be helpful in their quest for a better life.  I am proud and pleased to report that our children have already begun to outgrown our footprints.  Their music, alone, is touching lives.  All these transpired and more to come because a brave young lady married a handicapped man.  I am the man she accepted to live with and we have had a far better than average marriage.
The reason for starting with my own interruption is deliberate.  There is another young lady; a niece to be exact, that I would like very much to elevate in the eyes of her parents and relatives.  She, too, is beautiful and she too married a man that was brain damaged at birth.  He is physically handsome, but mentally not as sharp.  His genes are not hereditary and he fathered two bright children that some day shall contribute greatly to the benefit of others.  Her folks; of course, regard the marriage as a mistake.  They are good people and continue to assist their daughter’s family.  However, there is a need for a bit of change in their attitude and understanding in what a noble person their daughter really is.  She is a rare as a ruby, for she did what most women do not have the guts to do.  She gave meaning and purpose to herself and a man that would not have had any meaning or purpose at all.  Her husband should not be compared to people that are deliberately lazy and use others to their advantage.  With encouragement and guidance, the man has functioned just as well as the super brains in taxicabs.  The complained that his wife is more of a mother, than she is a wife, pleases me because I love it very much when my wife has a mother’s heart for me.  No greater tribute can be given to a woman than that she is a mother to her family, including her husband.  Men that want their wives to be “Playboy” types may have more of a mental disruption than they realize.
It is not my idea that I am expounding.  It was Jesus that corrected a wrong belief regarding the handicapped.  It is unfortunate that a similar view is still being advocated.  I was told to my face that I was punished for some terrible sin.  My wife lived with severe pain for four and one half years.  Surgery would have put her in a wheelchair for life.  Yet, a preacher asked her what sin she had committed.  A Roman Catholic nurse told her, “God must love you very much and He must have a special purpose for you.”  She, too, had it from Jesus who did not look for faults; but for the greater role even a sick person could play.  The blind man could see better and more clearly than his critics whose eyes were not impaired.  The blind man had to lecture the leaders on reality and how do deal with mental blindness.  They were physically well but mentally ill.  Mentally impaired people do not regard their mental blindness as a condition and for that reason there is no cure for them.  Jesus could not help them because their sins blocked their mental sight from being repaired.  Ultimately, the mental blindness of these religious leaders led to the dissolution of the nation.
I am not asking for merely accepting the impaired but to get out of their way and let them contribute what ever they can.  The Pharisees were in the way of the handicapped.  They did it by defining who in their opinion was a sinner or a saint.  They had no place for the blind or the lame in their society.  Even after Jesus had restored his sight, he was thrown out for wanting to worship with them.  Of course, we have progressed with accessible doors, sidewalks and parking spots.  Jobs are designated for some disabled but promotions are rare.  My wife also was hired due to a physical disability and she was commended for her performance.   The handicapped can be creative and efficient.  I have traveled farther with my pen than with my feet.  I am also aware of the risk that too much protection of the disabled has led to abuses.  My wife has a disabled parking permit, but it does not entitle me to a spot if she is not with me.  I am indebted to the Airlines for the wheelchair service and I am thankful that Social Security assists the disabled.  But, I am concerned when too many become dependent on taxation that it will disrupt the shrinking economic base required for our survival.  I do not believe we have it in our attitude to reverse the largest interruption in the making.  It shall be far worse than what my wife and I experienced during World War II.  To become a better person and lead a more prosperous life, all must contribute, even the handicapped.  Could what Jesus said apply to us, “Leave them; they are blind guides.  If a blind man leads a blind man, both fall into a pit?” (Mt. 15:14).