Saturday, October 05, 2013

Can I give you a hug?

I've published a few things about disabilities recently.

One was an article about disabilities in the church in the MB Herald. It started with a Hope Centre conference on inclusion last spring, where I met many families with stories begging to be told.

One was singer/songwriter Brain Doerksen from B.C., whose children have Fragile X, the same genetic condition as my brothers. One was my former coworker Jeannette, pictured below with her son Donovan. Some were new friends with children on the spectrum.

Read my article: Can I give you a hug?

photo by

In these conversations, I was struck by how many small things came up that people can do to help families with disabilities. (The print version only had space for a handful, but the online story has the long list.)

After I wrote the story, I met some autism moms from a Facebook group for coffee. When one heard my last name, she asked whether I belonged to a church that held "free garage sales."

"Yes, why?"

"Because a few years ago, when my daughter was just diagnosed, I met a Schellenberg at a church garage sale who listened and made me feel cared for. That must have been you."

I would never have made the connection between the woman I'd just had a coffee with, and the mom on my church lawn. The fact that she remembered proves how important the little caring things we do can be! (And it reminds me to choose my responses carefully because the uncaring ones may prove equally memorable!)  

I also have four poems in the latest issue of the online disabilities journal Word Gathering: It's a Boy, Pain Threshold, Stigma, and Drug Trial. Read them here.