My Friend Charlie
For national Disability Awareness month (October), Rev. Bill Gaventa, member of the Education and Leadership Ministries Council (ELMC) on Disabilities, shares this poem that was written by a young direct care professional about his relationship, and what he has learned, with his friend Charlie. Many faith communions, and the National Council of Churches, are working hard to extend the usual boundaries of their ministries to include people with disabilities and their families.
Reaching out to embrace and include the "other," however that other is defined, is indeed an act of ministry and prayer. But our call is to remember that we are not just being "faithful" in doing so, but in remembering that the "other" has gifts to bring, lessons to teach, and a role as giver and contributor, not just recipient.
So in this month, as we all encounter and work with people whom others may consider difficult, demanding, dependent, or simply consumers of our care, remember Charlie and what his friend Nick learned from him. Use this poem, as I have done frequently since 2005, as a litany with a group to remember the depths of Spirit in our work and care. And use the month and prayer to recognize and remember the thousands of Nicks in this country, as well as the Charlies, who work in jobs just at the poverty line where they care for the most vulnerable citizens amongst us.
|Publisher||National Council of Churches|
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