Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Designed to do the Macarena

The woman was slapping her arms, patting her head, and wiggling her bum. The long version of “Macarena” played on. Her eyes sparkled. Her serious expression was belied by the gleam in her eyes. She danced with seriousness, doing her best at having a good time. Behind the intent look in her eyes was a playfulness, a joy; she was having one of the best times of her life.

There was a sense of Deja’ Vu. I had watched a similar dance during many Christmas seasons.

The dance floor was filled with many athletes from Special Olympics, most of them doing their own version of the dance, all with great joy.

Two Special Olympics coaches, married a few minutes before, were joyously mixing it up with them. Dancing or not, everyone in the room was smiling, grinning.

Brenda and I danced to the first song, a slow song. I passed on cutting loose to “Staying Alive” or “Y.M.C.A.” But it was a lot of fun to watch.

I especially liked watching the man who’d led the bride down the aisle. He had done so with seriousness, displaying a sense of importance, he knew what an honor it is to play that role. Now he was gyrating, his right hand alternating between pointing at his left foot and 11:00, back and forth, back and forth. He was “staying alive.” A regular John Travolta.

Once through "Y.M.C.A." would have been plenty for me, but these folks loved it so much... they needed a second time through it.

One guy’s shoulders hunched up, then fell, his head twisted to one side... shoulders up, head twist, shoulders drop... Like the kid in the cartoon, in the yellow shirt, doing the same dance.

Watching these people, many of them older than I, was special, a treat, one of the best weddings I can remember. They have such big hearts...

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
--Matthew 18:2-4

Watching those Special Olympics athletes made my heart grow. One woman cried when she failed to catch the bride’s bouquet. A man my age caught the garter. Where I would have been self-conscious, embarrassed, he was so happy!

These people were childlike. Not childish. Not acting immature, less than what God made them to be, but purely everything He wanted them to be. They are so full of joy, happiness, abandoning themselves to the moment. They are perfectly designed to be who they are. Designed to do the Macarena.

I watched my son, smiling a smile that has been rare (since our church burned down last June when he was playing with a candle).

I have agonized over my children, especially Jeremiah. It was so hard to believe his IQ is only 46, because he performs so well, he works so hard at being everything that his mommy and daddy want him to be. I have thought how I would be glad to give him half of my IQ to make him complete.

But Saturday, he was so happy. I watched him as he danced (shuffled) around, glad to be alive. I realized how perfect he is. He is just as he should be.

I thought about how much I would give to him. I know that if there was a moment that it was his life or mine, if he needed to be shoved out of the way of a speeding car, or needed a transplant, or anything at all, I would gladly sacrifice myself for him. He means that much to me.

Watching the athletes at that wedding party I knew that each one of them is as special as Jeremiah. I don’t know them that well, but I could see that each one is a very special person.

I realized Jesus loves each of them more than I love Jeremiah. That triggered a small spiritual epiphany.

Just as a parent is willing to sacrifice himself for his child, our Lord loves us even more. He is willing to sacrifice Himself for us. He did such a thing. And it wasn’t the quick sacrifice of jumping in front of a train, but the long, torturous, shameful death of a criminal. The perfect man loves us with infinite, perfect passion.

Jesus would have done all He did for any one of these people. He would have removed Himself from glory, from that intimate connection with the trinity, taken a human form where He sweated, and ate, and grew tired, and taught, and suffered, and was derided, and defiled, and tortured, and put to death. He would have done all of that to claim back just one of us, even the “least” of us. He did such a thing.

Amazing! I am so ordinary, such a common man, and yet the God of the universe loves me enough to be whipped for me. He would let them spit on Him, beat Him, kill Him. His eyes watched the blood spurt from His palm, and He did it gladly, that I, that we, might share that intimate connection, that eternal relationship. So that I may dance with abandon with beings having lived for eternity, living for eternity, in a joy more perfect than the greatest performances of Beethoven, more sublime than the beauty of cathedralic forests, mightier than the power of a white dwarf sun pushing the gases of its nebulaec womb aside to shine upon the universe.

I believe He would have done it, all of it, even if it was to save only one of His children.

Even if it was all just for me.

Even if it all was just for you.


jel said...

Awesome post CS,
it sounded like it would have been a ball to have been there Saturday nite :) thank you very much for sharing this, I hope you are feeing better to day!

God bless

Judas Hate said...

Excellent post!

Hope you are doing better.


Ame said...

Her special needs are different, my little one, but she, too, feels very deeply. I have to be careful when disciplining her . . . there's a fine line there where it's productive and where it gets caught in her mind and thoughts and rips her up inside for seemingly forever.

Thank You, God, for a time of pure joy and happiness flowing from Jeremiah. Please come into his mind, as only You can, and comfort him . . . and show him that he is still worthy and beautiful . . . that he is valuable and special . . . that he is loved.

SocietyVs said...

I really enjoyed that post. My wife works with kids with autism and she always tells me that they are precious, that same kind of child -like thing you just explained, she has explained to me a lot. She has grown close to them and considers them her sisters...she really cares about her clients.
I look at a story like this and can't help but agree whole-heartedly and think that joy is irreplaceable...people should search for more of those experiences instead of dwelling on negative things. Your story reminds me of the joy I should gain from the things around me.
Also, two people from a independant living house came to our church this week. They were happy to hear the music and the message was great (they said).

Susie Hovendick Chan said...

I work with autistic children when I substitute teach. Many hate to be touched. So I say, "If you do______ (burp or other such unsocial mannerisms) again, I'm going to hug you!" And they do. And I hug them. This I play with them until I can get them to laugh instead of scream.

Seeker said...

Dance and rejoice in Him!

curious servant said...

I'm feeling better today. Thank you all.

Jim said...

I'm glad you're feeling better now. Finishing that blog should help anyone. It was right on. Reading it helped me get to a right perspective on just things.

Joe said...

Great post!

Jeremiah is fortunate to have you.

We are so loved by our God. Thanks for the reminder.

Jada's Gigi said...

Only Christ can free us to be who we really are...to express who we really are...after we discover it, that is...Here's to dicovering the incredible value He sees in us...
I think He loves His Father enough to go to any lengths for Him....

Julana said...

People with disabilites/ differences teach us a lot about where the value of a person lies. It's not in appearances or talent. It's inherent to being human.

Anonymous said...

Good post! The size of your Peanuts picture, CS, is what is pushing your sidebar down...
if you make it a bit smaller, I'm pretty sure the sidebar will correct itself!
God bless.

jollybeggar said...

hey man- my comment just crashed. i'm so frustrated! this scripture is all that's left... probably just as well.

fill in the blanks or ask me where i was going
: )

Matthew 18
The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. 6But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.

curious servant said...

On my browser the sidebar is fine. You might try widening the window. I could make the image smaller I suppose.

Jolly B:

Sorry about your comment. I noticed a little while ago that the comments wouldn't load. Seems to be OK now.

Lillee said...

Thank You for your email

Mark D said...

Great post!

There is no greater love than the love that drives One to sacrifice His life for a friend.

Paula said...

Amen brother! He would do what it took to save even one that was lost. I had an Uncle with Downs Syndrome and am familiar with the Special Olympics. I believed my Uncle was the closest thing on Earth to an angel.

Sarah said...

Wonderful post...truth so eloquently expressed.

P.S. The sidebar is all the way at the bottom of the page for me, too...

curious servant said...

I just got this email from the couple who were married:


I stumbled on your blog and just wanted to let you know that I was so touched by what you wrote. You can see that Wayne and I are blessed beyond words with the love of our athletes. They are our joy and we are humbled to be a part of their lifes. Wayne has coached for 15 years, me 5 years. The athletes brought us together, so we had to have a big celebration!

I am so glad that you allowed Jeremiah to join our family of athletes, we look forward to getting to know him and you as well.

D & W

Anonymous said...

Very pretty site! Keep working. thnx!