Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I was invited to a meeting of mental health providers, agencies, educators, and parents of children who have special emotional/mental health issues, or some kind of special needs. I was the only person there from a spiritual/religious community. A little bit of a fish out of water (but I tend to get myself in these situations--when I was on the board of the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness, it was the same kind of situation--I was the only non-agency kind of person there, but I still cared.)

I listened. I listened to parents losing their jobs because they had to spend so much time advocating for their children, I listened to a mom talk about being so isolated because there was no one she could ask to babysit because she didn't know anyone who could "handle" her child; I listened to educators who were confused about the system; and I marveled at several people in the room who were the parents of ten, five, 6 children--many of whom had been adopted through foster care system. (Forgive me, I don't know all the correct terms or processes).

I can the church/religious community even be relevant to these families? I wanted to gather up the parents and just hold them...comfort them...encourage them....I wanted to thank the agency representatives, the educators...even the bureaucrats...well, thank you. Thank you for letting me into your world for just an hour and half today.

I don't know if I have much to contribute to the conversations I have been invited to on a monthly basis...but I will learn...and maybe, hopefully, I will learn from God why I am there.

Until then, I hold these people, this group, in my heart.


  1. I commend you for taking a place at the table. You are just as needed in this conversation as the other agencies.

    The church that I was a member of in seminary was great in inviting children with special emotional/mental needs into the life of the community. The pastor had a real soft spot for all children and so that made him especially adept in dealing with kids with special needs. A mom with a child with aspergers heard about our pastor and started coming to our church. Then she told her friends with kids with special needs and a couple of other moms started coming to our church with their kids.

    We had to make accomadations (a couple of the kids were sensitive to too much stimuli), we've had to make comprimises (one of the kids played with his nintendo hand held throughout the service). There were bumps along the way but we got through it. Most of all, the moms and kids loved us for including them into our community.

    Peace and love,

  2. this has been one of my interests too...but I have not been able, yet, to develop it. Yay for you!