“Never work with children or animals.” That’s what W. C. Fields said, and I always thought he was right. About the children, anyway.
For most of my life, I’ve done pretty well avoiding both. I specialise in sports and orthopaedic physiotherapy. No kids there. I work helping adults recover from injuries, surgery, and broken bones. I like my job. It gets results.
Then Cat asked me for help, and everything changed.
This is Catriona Murray, my friend Fraser’s little sister. Strictly off limits, now she’s not so little any more. See how she has her hand on my chest, pushing me away. That’s typical Cat. She never lets anyone too close.
I call her Cat, because we’ve known each other since the three of us were little kids colouring in Bible stories in Sunday School. Back then, Cat-tree-o-na was way too big a word. Just like she always calls me Ally because she couldn’t say my whole name easily, either. I roll my eyes and remind her it’s Alistair now we’ve grown up, but it makes no difference. I’ll always be Ally to her, and she’s always Cat to me.
Cat never asks for help. Too independent. She never stops working. If she’s not busy running the hospital ward, she’s busy with one of her charity projects.
Her latest thing is running a group for disabled kids in our church. She keeps playing this song, “If we are the Body”, by Casting Crowns, and quoting 1 Corinthians 12:27. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
It’s a big deal for her, because she has a heart for helping anyone who can’t help themselves. And so many people didn’t want “those kids” in the congregation. You know, the kids that look different and behave different. Even my own Mum and Dad are against it, though that doesn’t surprise me. I’m fine with them being in the church. Cat’s right, Jesus came for us all.
I just had no intention of getting involved in it. Then Cat phoned me, and I had to say yes.
Though she joked to cover it up, I know her well enough to hear how upset having to cancel the Vacation Bible School day to the beach would make her. I couldn’t disappoint her and let her down, but I did not want to do it. I might sky-dive and rock climb and do whatever other extreme sports I get the chance to try, but the truth is, kids scare me a bit.
Okay, a lot. They cry. They have tantrums. They ask too many questions I don’t know the answers to. And these weren’t ordinary kids, they were her special needs kids. A whole minibus full.
At least her dog Hector would be there. That dog is smart! I figured he probably had more idea how to help with the children than I did.
Image by Grimmauprès via Wikimedia Commons
It didn’t take me long with Cat and those kids to realise God had some surprises planned.
The day trip I didn’t want to go on became a day I’ll never forget. Cat and I had seen each other almost every day, for most of our lives, but that one day made me realise I’d never really seen her before.
God had some solid lessons for me, too.
For You shaped me, inside and out.
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.
I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation, filled with wonder and awe.
You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;
Your works are wonderful;
I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.
Psalm 139:13-14 The Voice
He used the day at the seaside to teach me those verses didn’t apply only to the special needs kids, but to Cat, and me as well. You, too. Knowing that God loves us and created us as we are, made us very intentionally right down to the smallest detail, makes a difference.
A big difference.
If you’d like to read about the day and how it all turned out, the story is one of the 9 sweet summer romances in the Splash! boxed set, available now. I’ll give you a hint – you’re invited to the wedding!
Have you had a day like that, when everything changed? Please feel free to share it in the comments.