God Lives Under the Bed

I read this story in an email forward, source unknown. Read Kevin's story( as told by his brother). He can explain much better than I, just exactly why I became a teacher of special needs children. I have commented in italics when I felt compelled...


I envy Kevin. My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed...'(how many times do I fall asleep without even praying, let alone checking under the bed?)

I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in. (a world I'd love to visit and take my family)

He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them (Newton who? of course Angels hold them up!)

I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life? Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed. The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child. (How often have I complained about 'all this laundry'? I should be thanking God for clothes to wear and people to care for!)

He does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager (ouch! I hate getting up and am never EAGER!)for a day of simple work.

And Saturdays-oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. 'That one's goin' to Chi-car-go! ' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights. (beautiful)

And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips. He doesn't know what it means to be discontent. His life is simple. He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be. (the passage... "consider the lilies of the field" leaps to mind).

His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it. He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. (St. Joseph, patron saint of workers, pray for us.)

But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax. He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. (I'll bet that saves thousands on antidepressants and psychotherapy!)

Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. (how healthy, why don't we the supposedly intelligent and enlightened remember this?) And he trusts God. Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.(What's that you say, Adolph? Mentally inferior? Kevin is the master race!)

In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions. It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap . I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care. Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God. (Bliss.)

And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed. Kevin won't be surprised at all!

I met a lot of Kevins in my educational journey. Joe, Ra-Shon, Jenny, Alex, Barbara, Michael, Stevie, Ricky, Adrian to name a few. From the top floor of Froebel elementary in 1982 where the centralized SEI was (hidden) located to cast off Nelson elementary (with peeling asbestos covering the pipes). To state of the art Ottawa Area Center, Wesley School, Muskegon Regional Center (some gone now). From poorly equipped classrooms, time out rooms, physical take-downs (I hated those). But those kids never cared if their school was less than stellar. They loved it and greeted each day with a smile. I miss them. 

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