“Making Us Whole” serves not only as the title of this blog, but as an important concept behind the mission and vision of CLC Network. To define this phrase, “making us whole”, CLC Network marketing communications manager, Katie Barkley, wrote the following letter to her brother Sean, a young man with a disability.
You were uniquely designed and created by God. You reflect His image in your laugh, your loyalty, your attention to detail, and your eagerness to forgive. I am proud to be your sister.
Sean, our family would not be complete without you. You offer unique gifts that neither I nor anyone else could contribute; gifts like your detailed memory, optimistic perspective, and your skill for card games. We need you in our family.
But it’s not just our family that needs you. Your school needs you – as does your church and community. Though you may have limitations, this does not define you or your contributions. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul uses the metaphor of the human body to describe the type of community the Christian Church is to be. Though each part of the body serves a different purpose, all parts work together to carry out the functions of the body. Paul states, “…if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?” (1 Corinthians 12:16-17)
I am glad we are each made differently and uniquely. If we each were the same, we would not need each other. One of the reasons God created us with different personalities and gifts to contribute is because He wants us to lean on each other. Sean, if you were not gifted with an attention to detail, how would we have survived on road trips without you as our navigator? Or the many times when I forget birthdays and other important events, how would I keep track of them without you? Paul says, “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Cor 12:18) Just as the human body is made complete by each part, so too is the Body of Christ made whole when each piece – each person – contributes their strengths and gifts, while also leaning on others for their areas of weakness.
Sean, it’s important that you are included in all aspects of the life of your school, church & family communities. Just as you benefit from time spent with people without disabilities, they have lessons to learn and gifts to receive from you.
I am grateful for your presence in my life. You are another piece in the Body of Christ that makes us whole.
Katie Barkley is the marketing communications manager at CLC Network and the curator of this blog. She is a graduate of Calvin College and is deeply interested in how faith intersects with all aspects of life.