No, not Acts of the Bible.
My mother used to tell me, “It’s okay!” when I would begin to cry after seeing people in wheelchairs. She would tell me that they couldn’t walk. It was just devastating for me to see that they were not able to.
When I was a very young boy, I was exposed to a lot of grief. Search my blog and you will see some of the writings describing it. I felt very little “comfort” as I was growing up with my mother and her family, but I can definitely say they did their best to show me love. After all, they did instill in me the foundational compassion I had for those in the wheelchairs. Although, as I look back on those days, I also know that compassion came from another source.
Jesus — King of kings and Lord of lords — was working in me way before I even realized. The memorable black and white photo found in a Catholic schoolbook my grandmother had — a drawing of Jesus with children surrounding Him — captured my attention. It gripped my curiosity. I recall asking the questions about Him and remember those answers being along the lines of Him being the Son of God, or God. Not that I understood at that time, but the drawing was entrancing, nonetheless.
Fast-forward to the teen years, and I see the acts that were taking place within my life. Selfishness, self-destructive behaviors, little to no compassion, pains from childhood I had pressed down and covered with the many layers of substances and loathing. The man in the wheelchair became the one I would make fun of. The acts were taking me away from the heart of a little boy that poured out the love of God. I had quit vicariously bestowing His unrecognized compassion to the world and began to, unknowingly, respond to the whispers of evil.
Many experiences and many years later, I’m trying to remove those whispers. I desperately try to make my way through the learned, destructive behaviors, the ways in which people have/do rob my peace and joy, the constant battle I endure as I face what the world has done to the once pure heart of my younger self. The scars. The terrible experiences that ripped me apart and put me back together in a disarrayed fashion.
The acts I do, both internally and externally, are coerced. This light and dark/good and evil/God and Devil that I am always walking with — drawing me in and pushing me around — has its ways. The stages of my life have had a way of getting me back to the enthrallment I once experienced when I viewed the black and white photo. When I felt the deep compassion for the person in the wheelchair.
I need to watch how I act, and recognize why I do. I need to remember the joy I had as a child before the world stripped it away. I need to recognize the agape love of His that has always resided within, and extend it. I need to be His Church. I need to act like the child (at heart) that I once was.