I just finished this book by Heather Avis called Scoot over and make some room. Her first book is called The Lucky Few. Her first book describes their adoption journey. All of her children are adopted, two with Down’s Syndrome, and one who is ethnically different than she and her husband. Give this lovely family a follow on Instagram @theluckyfewoffical, it will make your heart smile! I will also link to both of her books so you can get them for yourself (or borrow them from the library).
I say all of this because 1. I am a book worm, and 2. it sparked a passion in me for making room for others, something I seek to do every day in my profession as a occupational therapist (OT) and within the church. Now any of you who have been in this church thing for awhile know that making room for “others” in the church is a whole other topic that I could harshly discuss, but instead I’m choosing love, joy, and humble thoughts on how we as a church can learn to scoot over and make some room.
This quote is what really made me stop and think.
“We need to enter into dialogues and relationships with people who are different from us and allow tension to make us stronger and more loving“–bold is my own emphasis added.
For me, as an OT, I enter into situations, dialogues and relationships with any number of clients and families who are different than my own. That could be based on race, primary language spoken at home, sexual orientation, or just beliefs on what activities they engage in for fun or leisure time. I say this because that does not mean I have to to judge them. Actually, I believe it’s not my place to judge. I am there as an advocate, as a confidant in some cases, and as a professional. I have the ability to lean into the hard spaces, to find where the person feels left out or less than they did before whatever brings them to my OT services.
When I was on my second field work, I worked with clients with severe persistent mental illness, so client’s with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder. Now without getting onto a whole other soap box about mental illness, for me, no it was not scary to work with them. I repeat, it was not scary to work with them. I will be the first to admit that I was very nervous to work with these clients. And here’s why: because I had never before been in relationships or known anyone with these disorders. So was I scared, nervous, and unsure what to think? Well yes. But as I got to know each one of my client’s, my heart was opened and I know that I saw what God sees in each of them, a beloved child of God. And that’s when it clicked for me, each client I work with is a beloved child of God.
For me, that makes it divine. For me, this is a calling. And for me, I need to scoot over and make some room in my own heart for people who are different than me. I’ll say it again for the people in the back I need to scoot over and make some room in my own heart for people who are different than me. And I believe, that God created us to scoot over and make some room for others too. To ask hard questions like, “how can I make sure everyone is included in this conversation?” or “how can I make sure someone has a seat at this table”.
It’s my time to make sure that everyone has a room at God’s table. It’s my time to share what I know about those who are different than me, so I can educate others and encourage us all to make some room. I have many things to learn, many people to talk to, and much more to learn. So I am by no means an expert, and I don’t intend to be. I just hope to be humble enough to listen to God’s still small voice in my life. And to use my God given gifts, talents, and space as an OT, to help those leaders I know in the church, and others, to make some extra room. We all belong. We are all children of God. So even if it’s uncomfortable, I’m ready to scoot over and make some room in my heart and in my own life. I hope you are too.
*I’m not sponsoring Heather Avis, I just want to share the love! So here’s a link to The Lucky Few: https://www.amazon.com/Lucky-Few-Finding-Unlikely-Places/dp/0310345464/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+lucky+few&qid=1567297750&s=gateway&sr=8-1
And here’s a link to Scoot Over and Make Some Room: https://www.amazon.com/Scoot-Over-Make-Some-Room/dp/0310354838/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=the+lucky+few&qid=1567297828&s=gateway&sr=8-2