Penny’s Take on Hope Heals

Okay, this is my final (for now) post about Hope Heals Camp last week. I started out planning to tell you all about it in one post, and here we are on day 5 and I could go on. But I’ll conclude by telling you about the way Penny and I got to work together.

On the first night for the volunteers, I was asked to give a talk on the theology of disability. I told Penny I would be sharing some stories, and I thought it would be helpful to talk about when she was born. I wrote her a note asking her how she felt about this, and she replied, “I feel fine. Before you talk, can you make sure I am there with you so that I can jump in if you forget some of the story.”

She didn’t jump in with corrections at any point, but she did stand at my side for the whole 30-minute talk, giving me hugs and hand squeezes of encouragement along the way. I talked about what I called “God’s logic” (another way of saying theology) around disability–how God sees and understands what we call disability. The other name for the talk was “Belovedness and Belonging,” because those words summarize what I believe God wants us to see and understand about ourselves and about one another. Having Penny by my side only reinforced that message. 

At the end of the week, I asked Penny: “What message would you want people to hear about how God understands disability?”

She responded, “I don’t really have a message, but I have a prompt saying God understands disability more than other people do.”

God understands disability more than other people do. That pretty much sums it up. We are so grateful we had a glimpse of the logic of belovedness and belonging in this week together. 


Photos by Ashley Monogue Photography

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