PaintingKind promise: I will ask for and accept help gracefully.

“Where, in the Bible, do I see people like me?” I asked myself recently. “What can God possibly be asking of me in this time and place and, most confusingly, in this body?”

I was, as is distressingly the case these days, feeling a little sorry for myself. An increase in MS-induced disability over the past few months have made it more difficult to use the computer to write and make art – the two things that sustain me above all else.

Reading The Last Week, reminded me of Jesus’ emphasis on the Kingdom of God – a place of social justice and peace. Christians are called to serve in the world. How can I, as a sooner-then-I-thought-to-be quadriplegic, be of service?

The first answer is, of course, to do what I can do. I can still write. I can still make art, I can still contribute to the body of Christ in the world. At the same time, things are shifting and I have energy to do less…

Where am I in the Gospels?

I am the served.

Ha! Surprise! I am the one whose friends are lowering her on her bed into Jesus’ presence through a hole in the roof. I am the one who is sick or in prison and waiting to be visited. I am not the doer. I am the doee. As uncomfortable as it is to find myself in that role, here I am.

Here’s the beauty of it: in the Kingdom of God, there is no shame in this role.

In 21st century America, there are loads of shame attached to being unable to be out and about – a contributing, consuming member of society. In the case of people like me, it’s hard to refute: there is something wrong with us.

What we have – what I have – to contribute does not help the GNP, but it can help in other ways.

We frequently assume Jesus is advising us to visit the sick or in prison because they need our help. Perhaps we need theirs.

There is nothing you can do to cure me. You cannot make things all better. If you are sensitive, you may realize that your stories of planting and shopping and rushing and busyness are stories from another planet to me. I listen, bemused.

If we are lucky, we will drop down beneath the busyness and bluster and sit together, enjoying the way the sunlight slants into the room. We will look into each other’s eyes and appreciate the miracle that is life – even when life is not what we wish it were. We will find the godliness that exists when two people take time for each other.

Together, we can create holy time, sacred space.

Now I understand what God can possibly be asking of me in this time, in this place, in this body.