It has been a few weeks since I posted anything, and there is actually a very good reason for that. You see, my wife and I had to go to Hawaii on some family business (don’t feel TOO sorry for us!). However, while there my wife developed pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. So the trip to Hawaii was not as good as it should have been. She was still feeling poorly when we were coming back, but we made it. Two weeks after coming back, finally feeling a bit normal, she took the dogs out into the back yard, noticed her strawberry plants needed to be watered and stepped over the dog fence with hose in hand. All she remembers was falling to the ground and hearing her leg bones crunch. She had three breaks in the bones in her lower right leg and dislocated the ankle. Well, truth to tell, the only thing holding her foot to her leg was soft tissue. I know, gross.
So here we are, post surgery, and she is confined to the bed or a wheelchair. She gets cabin fever, since I am at work most days, so I try and get her out as much as possible. I have built a handicap ramp off the deck in the back yard, but it is still difficult. I take her to the mall, doctors appointments, various restaurants and to church. But you know what has been very positive? Seeing the world through the eyes of a person confined to a wheelchair. There are many barriers to getting my wife into all these places. Some don’t have automatic doors. Some have no ramp to get over the curb. Some places have no elevator. Other places, even though there is no barrier to get inside have very narrow aisles or sharp turns that are not easily negotiated.
What can we learn from this? First, take a fresh look at your own church and see what the barriers might be. We have had a wheelchair in the church for a long time so that if needed it is handy. If you can get one, have someone sit in it and go around the church. See what the barriers might be. Can you get into the church? Can you maneuver through the aisles? How about the bathrooms? How would you handle someone who came to a potluck function? Can they see you, if they are sitting in the church in a wheelchair? Is there handicapped parking near the door?
You can extend this to other disabilities. Look at your bulletin (if you use one). Could someone with failing eyesight see what it says or is it in size 4 font? Hearing issues?
Jesus had a special place in his heart for those who had physical infirmities. He healed the crippled on many occasions. We don’t have that ability, perhaps, but should we not share his heart?
Luke 4:40 NIV