God Lives Under the Bed

I envy Kevin.

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.

Kevin was born thirty years ago, mentally
disabled as a result of difficulties during labor.

Apart from his size (6'2"), there are
few other 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, home to walk
our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite
macaroni & cheese for dinner, and later to bed.

The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry,
when he hovers excitedly over the washing
machine like a mother with her newborn child.

Kevin never seems 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 goin 'to Chi-car-go!"
Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.

His anticipation is so great, that he
can hardly sleep on Friday nights.

And so goes 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, and he does not care what brand of
clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats.

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,
nor does he leave a job until it is finished.

But when his tasks are done,
Kevin knows how to relax.

Kevin 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,
he approaches his faith 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 Kevin
is not the one with the handicap - I am.

My obligations, my fear, my pride, my
circumstances - they all become disabilities
when I don’t trust them to God's care.

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 God.

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.

And Kevin?  He won't be surprised at all!
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Lord, give me eyes to see, ears to hear,
a heart to love and faith to believe.