‘Life is an adventure, not a walk. That’s why it’s difficult…’
… a quote from A Boy made of Blocks. A book about Alex’s relationship with his son, Sam, who has autism. Through sharing the game Minecraft, Alex discovers that Sam isn’t a problem to solve, but a unique person who needs support to negotiate the world, but has his own hopes, dreams and abilities.
This week’s news has highlighted A Journey Less Equal, a report about being disabled in Britain. Covering six key areas – education, work, standard of living, health and care, justice and detention, and participation and identity – It found that disabled people in the UK were experiencing disadvantages in all of them.
I would love to say that Church is different, that developing relationships and enabling people of all abilities to fully participate in church life is a real priority, but it wouldn’t be true. 80% of disabled people don’t go to church and the church experience for many parents with a disabled child is shameful. There are some shining examples of good practice, but generally we fall behind other organisations.
I think we genuinely desire for this to be different but, like Alex with Sam, we view people who are differently able as a problem to solve rather than people who are fearfully and wonderfully made who have hopes and dreams and abilities.
At the end of the book Alex concludes;
‘That’s why it’s difficult – life is extraordinary and it means something, and those things are costly. You have to be patient prepared and strong.’
As disciples of the crucified Christ we know life is extraordinary and it means something, and those things are costly. On behalf of our differently able brothers and sisters we need also to be patient prepared and strong.
By Joanne Wetherall, Children and Families Officer