Saturday, April 27, 2013


The first thing that struck me when I came to live in a house with mentally handicapped people was that their liking or disliking me had absolutely nothing to do with any of the many useful things I had done until then.  Since nobody could read my books, they could not impress anyone, and since most of them never went to school, my twenty years at Notre Dame, Yale, and Harvard did not provide a significant introduction.  My considerable ecumenical experience proved even less valuable.

When I offered some meat to one of the assistants during dinner, one of the handicapped men said to me, "Don't give him meat, he doesn't eat meat, he's a Presbyterian."

Not being able to use any of the skills that had proved so practical in the past was a real source of anxiety.  I was suddenly faced with my naked self, open for affirmations and rejections, hugs and punches, smiles and tears, all dependent simply on how I was perceived at the moment....

....This experience was and, in many ways, is still the most important experience of my new life, because it forced me to rediscover my true identity....(these) unpretentious people forced me to let go of my relevant self.  HENRI NOUWEN

I find in my little pocket of the world a similar battle rages daily.  I want things for me.  I want to be impressive, in demand, useful, popular, skilled, coupled with a reputation that Terry can fix people's problems. 

Yet, those things aren't there.  Have you any idea how many people pass me on any street or dodge me at the mall who have no earthly idea of my potential and awe?  THE MASSES OF SOCIETY DON'T EVEN KNOW I EXIST!!!!

While I would really wish to be "somebody" there is only one portion of my personality that seems to give me value and purpose; my vulnerability.  It is in this blessing that the power of Christ dwells in me; in any of us. 

Thus the explanation of why too many in the church sit on our hands and do nothing except basically attend.  Vulnerability is the only route to serve and for many this just isn't an acceptable option.  May we read II Corinthians 12:5-11 once again and absorb the truth there is just no other way. 

If He is going to exert power through us, we are gonna find it necessary to yield to our desired heroics and settle for the very thing we just don't want said of self....VALUABLE WEAKNESS.

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