Friday, September 15, 2006

What is my disability?

Lately I have not been able to sleep well. I lay awake most of the night thinking. I am consumed by thoughts of our current situation within the PC (USA) denomination. I keep thinking about how I may articulate what is going on in my head right now. I am baffled by our circumstances. I am miffed at the mystery of God. I am pissed at purpose. I am worried about our denomination. I am unsure about my future. I also kept thinking about a movie, Simon Birch (based on John Irving’s book, A Prayer for Owen Meany.) It is about a child that is born small.

Simon and his best friend Joe share almost every moment together. Joe’s mom treats Simon like one of her own children. She loves him when his own mother does not. She accepts him and encourages him to be when others doubt him. This is all the more tragic when Simon is sent to the batter’s box in a baseball game and the coach tells Simon to swing away. Simon does and in that instant Joe’s mom is killed by the foul ball that Simon has hit.

Simon is crushed and later cries out to God and/or Joe's mom that he is sorry. He is devastated. Yet his faith in the purpose that God has sent him here to perform is strong and he does not waiver. He seeks guidance from a minister (that is later named as Joe's birth father) that believes Simon to be a troublemaker and asks him to not come to church anymore. He and the minister get into an altercation where they exchange scripture. They fire verses like bullets in a struggle to validate the positions either has taken. Both of them depart exhausted and disgusted with each other.

I love that Simon is neither perfect nor superhuman. Simon has flaws and they are visible even in the light of his obvious humbling circumstances. Simon does not seek to utilize his circumstances to force others into a position of submission. He faithfully walks and lives in the promise of Gods calling upon his life. In the end Simon dies as the purposeful hero he has said he would be and teaches all naysayers a lesson in life (faith). The movie inspires me as I consider these days among us.

I have watched this film numerous times. It delivers me to places in thought too which I begin asking myself, “What is my disability? Where do I fall short in life? How do I overcome these items and serve God?” We can look at these questions in light of our denomination and the trials we are enduring. We may gain a different perspective as we turn inward and reflect upon our lives. Beyond any specific interpretation of scripture, in the light of any formal structure we all are God’s children.

We may need to amicably part ways with each other. We may be called to endure together in unity and diversity. I am not offering any solution. I just want to serve the Lord. It bothers me to see us fight in this manner. It reminds me of the bitter fights my parents waged as they jockeyed for position during their divorce.

Sisters and brothers we are called to love one another. We are called to serve each other. We are all offered the same grace, forgiveness, and transformation in the person of Jesus Christ. Let us do what we have to do. Let us trust in the Lord with all our hearts, all our minds, and all our strength. Trust and certainty in God’s provision was a cornerstone in Simon’s understanding of his purpose here on this earth. Simon did not focus on the have-nots in life, the deficiencies he had by worldly standards. Simon never used his differences to challenge this world. Simon focused on his usefulness to God in his current state. Simon trusted in the Lord to use him as he was and to provide the opportunities to fulfill his purpose.


Elaine said...

Thank you.


Pappy McVulgar said...

You are welcome, Elaine.

Amy said...

This is a beautiful reflection on a movie that inspires me as well. I, too, grieve over the situation of the church. Blessings, my brother.