The following edited story is entitled “God Lives Under the Bed.” The author is Kelly Adkins.
My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that is what I heard him say one night. He was praying aloud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped outside his closed door to listen.
“Are you there, God?” he asked. “Where are you? Oh, I see, under the bed.”
I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin’s unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. That night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time that Kevin lives in a very different world.
He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled from difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he’s 6-foot-2), he reasons and talks with the capabilities of a 7-year-old. 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.
I wonder 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, returning to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed?
The only variations in the entire scheme are laundry days, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.
Saturday is 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.
I don’t think Kevin knows anything exists outside 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. He does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. Kevin treats each person as an equal and a friend. He never worries that one day his needs may not be met.
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 leave a job until it is finished. When his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.
His heart is pure. He still believes everyone tells the truth, that promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of arguing. Unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere.
Kevin trusts God. When he comes to Christ, he has childlike faith. He seems to know God in a way that is difficult for an “educated” person to grasp. God is his closest companion.
I envy Kevin’s simple faith. I admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions. I have come to 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 submit them to Christ. Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, soaking up the goodness and love of God.
One day, when God reveals the mysteries of heaven, we may be all amazed at how close the Almighty really is to our hearts. God probably heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.
Kevin won’t be surprised at all.
Posted on Fri, November 29, 2013
by Rev. Wilmer L. Todd