Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dancing With Disabilities

"Dancing with the Stars" is a popular TV show. Among other things the show is designed to pair an "ordinary" person with a celebrity. These two then develop (with professional assistance, of course) at least two dance routines. They practice together and compete against other celeb/non-celeb couples. Apparently the show is mesmerizing for for those who track its progress until one couple finally wins.

At A Restoration Church we are dancing with disabilities! Actually close inspection reveals that we all have some area of brokenness in life. Those of us who have more obvious brokenness are labeled by society as "disabled." What I have learned is that "disability" isn't so much about not being able in some aspect of physical, mental or emotional function as it is about having limitations and challenges outside the "norm." It may be a distinction without a real difference since we all deal with limitations and challenges to some extent. The real distinction comes in the significance of the limitation and challenge.

My friend is blind in one eye. She is significantly more impaired than I am with my sight challenges and limitations in both eyes. I can turn on a brighter light and wear my glasses. My friend's blind eye doesn't benefit from either light or lens. However I probably struggle more with my "sight issues" than she does with hers. She accepts her blind eye and actively and aggressively finds ways to compensate. Not only that, she demonstrates joy and humility in the process.

Dancing with people who have disabilities is far more exciting than "dancing with a star" on TV. Dancing with disabilities is literally people choosing to partner together to share and care for each other in a faith family. The lateral dimension of this dance is enriched by our differences and what we are learning from each other. The vertical dimension of this dance is how we participate together to worship and serve God. In our worship and service each partner in the dance brings his or her own unique contribution to the beauty of that dance. And I imagine God smiles while He watches because, of course, He is our Choreographer!

"Dancing with the Stars" is a glitzy production designed to capture the imagination of the observor. Our dance with disabled people at A Restoration Church isn't about fancy costumes, well choreographed moves and drama. It's about REAL! It is real people willing to share real needs, real joys, real pain and even real failure together in this dance so that we encourage and support each other. It's about learning God's ways and showing God's love. And most of all, it's about God's peace and joy working their way deeply into our hearts in this radical community of faith called A Restoration Church!

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