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God's Under the bed


My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed. At least that's what 
I heard him say one night. He was praying out loud in his dark 
bedroom, and I stopped outside his closed door to listen. "Are you there, God?" he said. 
  "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.
But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I 
realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in. 
He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of 
difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), 
there are few ways in which he is an adult. He reasons and 
communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will.
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 remember wondering 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, to eat his favorite 
macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed. The only variation 
in the entire scheme are laundry days, when he hovers excitedly over 
the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.
He does not seem dissatisfied. He lopes out to the bus every morning 
at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work. He wrings his hands excitedly
while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up 
late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores. 
And Saturdays-oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's 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 going' to Chi-car-go!" Kevin shouts as he claps his hands. His 
anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.
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 of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he 
wears or what kind of food he eats. He recognizes no differences in 
people, treating each person as an equal and a friend. His needs have 
always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be. 
His hands are diligent.  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 shrink from a job when it is begun, 
and he does not leave a job  until it is finished. But when his tasks 
are done, Kevin knows how to relax.    He is not obsessed with his 
work or the work of others. His heart is pure. 
  He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, 
and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue. Free
from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to 
cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always
sincere. And he trusts God.
Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he 
comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God-to really be friends with 
Him in a way that is difficult for an "educated" person to grasp. God 
seems like his closest companion. In my moments of doubt and 
frustrations with my Christianity,
I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith. It is then that I 
am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises 
above my mortal questions. It is then I 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,
praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of the Lord. 
And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all 
amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that 
God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived 
under his bed. 
  
  Kevin won't be surprised at all.




"Neither doctrinal purity nor diligent labor will ever be a substitute for passionate devotion to God."

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