Saturday, September 18, 2010

Learning from Arick

Arick is a special member of our church. He is both physically and mentally handicapped. He probably loves Providence more than anyone and there are a few selfless men in our church that take turns giving him a ride to and from church. He lives in a small group home on Washington Pike.

This past Sunday, Joe Denton was slated to give Arick a ride home after church. He and I both had daughters playing in a big soccer tournament so we rushed to see the last of the game after church. Joe brought Arick with him to the soccer game. At church, I found out that it was Donna’s (Joe’s wife) birthday, so I offered to give Arick a ride home so Joe could be with Donna. Arick, satisfied and happy to be there, just joined right in and watched the game (the field was muddy and there were muddy hills to walk up and down to get there, so it wasn’t easy for him and he got mud on his shoes and pants). By the end of the game, we were hungry, so I took him to get something to eat.

I had a great time with Arick. While eating, we talked. He talked about how much he loved Providence. He told me all these things he had learned that were “in the Bible.” We talked about Jesus. We laughed and talked. To me the rest of the world went away. Often while talking I couldn’t help but think about what I had JUST preached about from John 9. How God had allowed suffering and disabilities (as in the man born blind), for the sake of his glory. Here with me was a REAL example. Internally, I struggled a little. It was one of those moments where my own words almost didn’t pass the smell test. I had the feeling of the injustice of it all as I remembered that humanity’s sin had corrupted the world. I felt regret and anger that Arick’s condition somehow results from this. Arick struggles to see, eat, and walk, although he is completely content. He is so kind. He always wants to hug me vigorously, no matter who’s watching or what’s going on. “Maybe God uses guys like Arick to show me how beautiful a person can be who is simply satisfied and joyful despite his circumstances.” I thought. Nothing in my heart was really resolved.

On the way to his home, I played Jason and Bryan’s CD “Beauty in the Fall” (Joe had warned me that Arick had a Christian Rap CD that he had asked Joe to play, so I thought I would be preemptive!).

I wish you could have been there for the rest.

I didn’t know that Arick knows EVERY SONG on that CD by heart. We both sang the whole way to his home along with Jason and Bryan. I don’t think there was another word spoken. Just singing. I was moved to the point of battling tears as Arick sang every word of the songs.

The last song before Arick got out was “Beauty in the Fall.” He sang aloud with Jason:

Creator of Life, you spoke and it was.
The Image of God given to us.
Fallen and cursed, naked we run.
Into the arms of the Son.

(Chorus) There is beauty in the fall of man. There is grace enough to rise again.
Cause underneath it all we are resting in the palm of his hand
There is beauty in the fall, beauty in the fall of man.

Dust to dust, cradle to grave.
We breath in, the story of grace.
A song that’s made for those who believe.
A song that the angels cannot sing.

[Chorus repeats]

That you would trade the splendor of heaven for a manger,
This is the beauty in the fall.
That you would pay the cost through the power of the cross,
This is the beauty in the fall.
That we are sons and daughters loved by you the Father,
This is the beauty in the fall.

I fought my emotions while he sang loud and clear (I couldn’t sing with him). I walked in with him, hugged, and said goodbye. When I got back in my truck I burst into tears almost uncontrollably.

I learned more from his example than he could ever learn from me. I can’t wait to spend time with Arick again. I think he is closer to God than I will ever be this side of heaven. And IN heaven...Arick will not have any handicap at all. And neither will I.

Thanks, you guys who bring Arick, for your ministry to him. I know you say, “No big deal.” but it is. And God is pleased.

If you haven't gotten the CD, you can pick one up from church or search "Beauty In the Fall" on iTunes.


Anonymous said...

That is a nice story Chad. It makes me think of my son Thomas. He was content and happy with every day of his life. Thanks, John Harrell.

Scarlett Fritts said...

Reading this blog totally blessed me this morning. Absolutely beautiful story, Chad. Thank you so much for sharing!

Angela Childers said...

Thanks for sharing this Chad. He sounds like a special young man. I have seen him at church and he has the greatest smile! I am a special ed teacher and am fortunate to work with students with special needs. They certainly keep me grounded.

sweetsarahsue said...

What a beautiful blessing. God gives us things that astound us if we just slow down enough to see them. God bless you Chad.

Anonymous said...

Wow I have seen Arick at church. Like all of us he has a purpose here that God has given him. Thanks for the story. It is a great reminder to me that God is good and that heaven will be so much better. I am going to have to meet Aric at church sometime!
Jim Thompson