Sunday, December 7, 2008

Personal Redemption

We said goodbye on Friday to Andy’s sister, as she joined two of her brothers who preceded her into the after life this past year. She put up a good fight and left this world way too young, considering life expectancies these days. Her life was not an easy one. Her adult life having been spent in group homes for mentally challenged individuals. Upon her passing I heard from her brother, acts of compassion for her that went above and beyond what is typical these days.

When I heard of this kind and loving act, I was reminded of a conversation I had many years ago, over coffee and with a complete stranger. We struck up a conversation at the time over a headline. The headline is long gone from my mind, but the conversation is still as vivid as if it were yesterday. We discussed the troubles in the world, the people who are born less than perfect, and why God would permit people to be born with defects and handicaps.

I myself have two siblings who arrived in this world without hearing. Andy’s sister struggled to learn the basic things we all take for granted every day. The old guy had some words of wisdom for me, when I became so bold as to question God’s motives.
“Maybe it isn’t the handicapped people that are the less fortunate among us” he began. “Perhaps it is we, the born perfect, who need redemption and salvation. How we treat our handicapped brethren may be in God’s greater scheme.”

Over the years I have come to pay special attention to those who dedicate their lives to helping others. I wonder what the motivation for each of them might be. Also, can a single act of kindness redeem our eternal souls? I am praying this to be true. In Andy’s sister’s struggle, and inability to speak for herself, his youngest sister stepped up to the plate. Each and every day for weeks, she sat by her sisters bedside making sure her needs were attended too, and that she was never ever neglected.

The youngest sister spent many of her own years in struggle, mostly by her own hand. The good opinion of others means little in the grand scheme of things I realize. However, in hearing this tremendous sacrifice for one’s sister my heart feels the endless possibility for personal redemption.

1 comment:

fasthair said...

Ms. Pat: First allow me to express my sincerest condolences to you, Andy and the rest of the family. Sorry it has taken so long to post this but I find the right words hard to come by on these occasions.

I have re-read this wonderfully profound post several times in the past couple of days. I too have wondered what drives people to do this work with such unselfish giving. It is indeed a very special person that God has put in our lives to set as example. Hopefully we can somehow live up to his expectations.

The old man has passed some great wisdom along to you. Now I thank you for passing it along to me. I hope I don’t fail.

God bless,