My typical work day doesn’t involve breaking a sweat from wheeling disabled children around a concrete courtyard. Today wasn’t a typical work day, however. Today I was visiting OSSO, a home for children with physical and mental disabilities who have been orphaned during my visit to a study abroad program in Cuenca, Ecuador.
I like to think of myself as someone who can smoothly interact with just about anyone. But, if I were to be completely honest, initially it was very challenging (read: awkward) to interact with children who mostly grunt or scream in response to anything and everything. I love kids, and wanted to play and laugh and have fun with these kids but the limitations far beyond their control have meant they can’t act and play and respond the ways most kids have.
And that’s what brought them to the children’s home – their families have abandoned them because they don’t talk and act and move in same way as many other children!
Part of the challenge is our economical perspective of love – so often, I want a good return on investment (ROI) when I love. I am very happy to love as long as someone loves me in return. Loving when someone dislikes me, or loving when someone can’t show me love as I’d expect is very challenging. It’s not a very “practical investment” to love a child who will still be confined to a wheelchair, unable to dress themselves, unable to feed themselves tomorrow or the day after or a month from now or 30 years from now!
And then it struck me, these aren’t just some children – these kids are Jesus!
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, when you [cared for] one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” – Matthew 25:40
So today I played wheelchair bumper cars with Jesus. And Jesus (also called Brian, Christian, and Laura) laughed a lot!!
While I didn’t get any practical “returns on my investment,” the truth is, I NEED these kids! I need to learn from them and need to learn to love them. If I can’t love a kid in wheelchair who can’t show me love back in a way I’d typically expect, can I really love?!?!?