“My father believes, as I do, that the church is the place where the incompetent, the unfinished, and even the unhealthy are welcome. I believe Jesus agrees.”
– Mike Yaconelli, Messy Spirituality
One of my character defects is impatience. This isn’t just on the road but with people. I am impatient with the slow of speak and slow of thought. I will look about as they talk, my mind thinking what I need to do next. Louann could test me at times. A sweet woman with a kind face. I would describe Louann as simple. A simple life with simple needs. Sort of.
Louann was part of our congregation in another part of Florida. We were there three years. Louann had a severely handicapped son. He had so many seizures he had to wear a soft helmet, always. He didn’t communicate with anyone other than his mother. Only once do I recall hearing him say words, more often just sounds. Danny was about 11 when we were there. By the time we left, the peach fuzz over his lip indicated puberty was on its way and I worried so for his mother. How could she tend his needs as he would grow bigger than her
Danny was bussed to a school for his needs. I’m not sure what he was taught but it was a chance for his mom to have some time for herself. She attended our women’s group that met Tuesday mornings. Most of the women in this group were retired. During Luann’s time “off” from single-parenting she chose to help one of these seniors. Luann provided transportation for Eva and often brought her leftovers from home to share and would clean Eva’s home for her.
Luann wasn’t someone you’d ask to lead a group, take charge of organizing an activity or even lead a song. She didn’t show much self-confidence and you know we church folks like people with confidence. 😉 No Luann wasn’t someone who would be president of the women’s group. Some, like me, felt anxious around her at times. Mostly, because I had no answers for her life. But Luann wasn’t asking for answers. She seemed quite content with her life. She wondered why Danny. Thought it may have been something the doctors didn’t tend to after his birth. Her voice sure it wasn’t something she had caused. Her focus was on caring. For Danny. For Eva. For others.
I thought of Luann as I began re-reading Messy Spirituality. Yaconelli’s stories reminding me of the precious gift of grace. “Jesus didn’t die just for our sins; he died so people who couldn’t read or speak could read and speak.” And he died so I could learn to listen.
4 thoughts on “Messy Spirituality”
What an extraordinary witness a quiet caring heart makes. There’s so much more time to listen and so much more room to feel. Thank you for sharing these sweet words of encouragement.
When I read your post on the Untouchables I realized we were on parallel thoughts again. It’s so funny to me but also encouraging.