Summer's here. At least here in Florida where summer lasts 300 days, spring 60 days, and winter 5. So the pool is where we go to play on afternoons after Allie's weekend naps. She wakes up kind of cranky after a nap and the pool is the perfect pick-me-up. It does for her what a chocolate brownie frappuccino does for me.
We're in our first year in the community where we live now. So we're making new friends at the pool. Allie's physical challenges invoke inquiries from fellow pool users. The age of the person with questions is inversely related to the volume with which questions are asked. Five year olds ask questions with the volume cranked at "10", and 35 year olds ask their questions with a polite nod and a smile, volume turned down to zero.
We're very much in tune with the discomfort of parents as their kids interact with us. At least I think we are. And we do everything we can to keep parents from being embarrassed by their kids' curiosity. We try to engage both child and parent; I'll talk to the kid while the Charming and Beautiful Susan befriends with the mom.
One time a mom asked me, "What should I say to my kids when they ask questions? Should I say God just makes some people handicapped?"
Wow. That's a heavy question; a theological minefield even. And we didn't even talk long enough for her know about my pastoral background. So, in my most pastoral tone, I stammered, and then, I began to pontificate about giving children information appropriate for their age and level of cognizance of the world in which they live and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Blah.
I was so unnerved by the question and bringing the idea of God into what you tell a child that I was totally thrown off. The conversation got a little awkward and, to the relief of both of us, we switched subjects.
What I wish I said was that God allows plenty of problems into our lives so that we, as we live in community, have plenty of ways to bless each other and represent Him to each other. I wish I said that opportunities for redemption constantly present themselves from the time we're small children until we draw our last breath. What I wish I knew how to say to small child is that some are born strong and some are born weak and the strong please God when they protect the weak. That's how Jesus cares for us and wants us to care for each other.
When things go wrong, God gives us a chance to partner with Him to make them right.