Who Lives in Heaven’s Penthouse?

 

Father Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R., often said that if he was granted entrance into heaven, he would be assigned the lowliest of positions. His guess was that he would be assigned to find lost pets. For us pet lovers, that is a very important task, but it also indicates the notion that there are different levels of heaven.

First it must be said that everyone in heaven is completely joy-filled. But the human mind is wired to put things in order. On Earth, we have Kings and Prime Ministers, Generals and Captains and Privates. In our families the Father and Mother are the head of the household, at work the Boss has supervisors under him who have employees under them. The Bible speaks of Principalities and Powers indicating different types of Angels. Saint Augustine and others spoke of Nine Choirs of Angels. On the far opposite end, we have Dante’s Nine Levels of Hell.

The highest realms of heaven are occupied by God Himself, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This mystery of Three Persons in One God we call the Trinity.

Beneath the Trinity we find the Nine Choirs of Angels and these are each divided into three groups of three. Each group signifies how close to God the Beings in that group are. The three groups from highest to lowest are:

1) Seraphim, Cherubim and Thrones

2) Dominations, Virtues and Powers

3) Principalities, Archangels and Angels

However, there is another level that must be mentioned and it resides above the Seraphim and below the Trinity. You could reckon it to be Heaven’s Penthouse!

 The residents of this level are Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family.

Jesus is True God and True Man. Within Him is the Divine Nature and Human Nature. This duality has a name, the Hypostatic Union. The Hypostatic Union is the name of the level above the Seraphim. In the time of the Early Church, this name and this union was much discussed and debated. So much so that Saint Augustine cautioned the men of his flock not to discuss the Hypostatic Union while they were at the Barber as he thought that to be profane.

Mary is the Mother of God and also the Queen of Angels. As Queen, she should be positioned above her subjects.  Joseph is the spouse of Mary, her Earthly guardian and the guardian and foster-father of Jesus. Joseph was the head of the Holy Family during its residence on Earth. In their home both Jesus and Mary were obedient to him. Joseph by his obedience shielded Mary from charges of adultery that would have led to her death. Joseph by his obedience took Jesus and Mary safely into Egypt away from the murderous Herod.

God in the form of the Trinity is the very essence and reason heaven exists. All of creation sits below the Trinity and is ordered according to the wishes of God. Closest to God, according to His design, is His Son Jesus with Mary and Joseph, eternally above all of the Angels and lesser inhabitants.

On Earth, Joseph looked down into the face of Jesus while he held the infant in his arms. With his last breath, he gazed up into the faces of Jesus and Mary. Now when he looks up he sees the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and beside him stands Jesus and Mary the Queen of Heaven.

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The Assumption of Saint Joseph

August 15 is the date the Catholic Church in the United States celebrates the Assumption of Mary into Heaven Body and Soul. It was Pope Pius XII who on November 1, 1950, declared this to be a dogmatic teaching of the Church.

This teaching makes sense on so many levels that as early as the fourth century it was a popular belief among the faithful that Mary was brought body and soul into heaven upon her death.

1) She said, “Yes, let it be done to me according to thy will.”

2) She was the true Mother of God, Jesus Christ, the perfect son who loved her more than any son ever loved his Mother. Would He allow His Mother to remain in the tomb when He could do something about it?

3) She was Full of Grace, not subject to the stain of original sin, which results in death.

4) She was faithful to Him even as He hung on the cross. Then she continued His work by teaching the Apostles.

The Assumption of Mary makes sense. What about Joseph?

First – there is NO dogmatic proclamation about Joseph being assumed into heaven body and soul after his death. Beyond that, we have much to consider.

I) Joseph was the true husband of Mary. Mary and Joseph loved each other with a perfect love.

II) Joseph was selected by God the Father to be the guardian of Jesus and Mary. He fulfilled this duty completely.

III) Jesus, Mary and Joseph, all three comprise the Holy Family. They are a unit.

IV) We read in Matthew 27; vs 51 -53, “The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the city and appeared to many.

So we know from the Bible that some have already experienced the reuniting of their souls with their bodies. The Bible does not give us names but we can piously speculate and some of the Church Fathers and saints have done so.

·       Saint Bernadine of Siena proclaimed that just as Jesus, Mary and Joseph labored on earth together they now reign in splendor in Heaven Body and Soul.The Youth of Our Lord John Herbert

·       Saint Francis de Sales declared in a sermon, “St. Joseph is, therefore, in Heaven in body and in soul; of that there is no doubt.”

·       Saint Leonard of Port Maurice whose preaching on the Immaculate Conception was instrumental in its eventual declaration stated that Saint Joseph was granted a special privilege when his body and soul were brought to heaven. For proof he references the book of Proverbs that states all her (Mary’s) household are “clothed with double garments.” Interpreters say that double garments signify the body and the soul.

Consider the fact that Jesus cannot refuse his mother any reasonable request. When she was assumed body and soul into Heaven was she to be greeted by her husband’s disembodied soul? If this had occurred would she not ask her son to reunite Joseph with the body that had served both of them for so many years? Saint Augustine and other Church Fathers state it would be improper for Saint Joseph’s body to lie in the ground until the Second Coming given that no other person was as close to Jesus as Joseph was with the exception of his spouse Mary. If the bodies of unnamed saints were raised at the resurrection does it not make sense that the body of the man chosen by God the Father to be the guardian of His Son and his Mother would be among them?

If the body of Saint Joseph remained in the ground would it not long ago have become the object of veneration like so many other saints? Would not his bones be displayed for the edification of our souls? But no remains are available despite claims of where his tomb is located. The body of Moses, who appeared with Jesus on Mount Tabor in glorified form with Elijah, who was taken directly to Heaven, is missing. Is it missing or is it no longer on earth?

So we are left to use our capabilities and decide for ourselves. We cannot make a firm dogmatic proclamation as that is left to the Church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But just as the Assumption of Mary was piously believed by many for centuries before it was made firm, so too may the faithful pray that Joseph is soon honored with the same dignity.

St_Joseph,_portrayed_as_a_young_manAboutDennisPMcGeehan

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Warriors World Dad Interviews Karina Fabian – Part Two

Mind Over Trilogy 160small Today is our second installment of our featuring The Mind Over Trilogy by Karina Fabian.

Because one feature of Warriors World Dad is to highlight how the eternal Spiritual War of Satan against God often breaks into our reality I want to feature a theme that is prevalent in the trilogy, that of The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions.

Now let’s hear it directly from the author:

Thanks, Dennis, for hosting me on the Mind Over All tour. Mind Over All (and the novella Hearts Over Mind) complete the Mind Over trilogy, which follows the adventures of Deryl Stephens, a psychic driven insane by his own abilities and the manipulations of two aliens. One simply wants information to help her defeat invaders from another world; the other wants to use Deryl’s powers to destroy her and take over the world. You can read more about it at http://fabianspace.com. Today, since Dennis focuses on spiritual warfare, I’d like to tell you about my villain, Alugiac.MindOverAllPicture

Have you heard the saying that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions? This is Alugiac’s theme. Alugiac was once a great healer among the Kanaan people, sacrificing his safety to care for friend and enemy alike. He was godfather to Tasmae, a woman with the unique ability to control their world with her mind and who is destined to save their world from destruction. However, when we meet him in the first novel, Mind Over Mind, he is a traitor to his homeworld of Kanaan. In fact, he’s become the religious and military leader of the enemy world and is not only orchestrating the invasion of his homeland, but is also trying to kill its leader, Tasmae. And as part of that plan, he’s been manipulating the mind of a psychic human, Deryl, trying to instill in him mindless obedience and a thirst for murder in order to use him to destroy anyone in Alugiac’s way.

Fortunately, for Tasmae, Kanaan and even Alugiac and his new people, Deryl is pretty stubborn. He rejects Alugiac’s manipulations. He travels to Kanaan where he meets and marries Tasmae and saves both Kanaan and the enemy world.

He saves Alugiac as well. Alugiac, it turns out, isn’t totally wrong about what he’s been trying to do. I won’t get into details because, after all, I want you to buy the book, but Alugiac is also trying to save the world – both worlds in fact. But he sees only one way to do it, and it’s broken his heart – and his mind. His good intentions set him on the path to Hell, and Deryl, the one he abused the most, will have to guide him back to the light, or they will all suffer.

I hope you’ll check out the Mind Over trilogy. It’s a story 30 years in the making, and I’m thrilled to have it come to its conclusion, particularly in seeing the motivation behind Alugiac’s villainy. Not all roads to Hell are paved with good intentions, but his twisted path held some of the best.Karina Fabian headshot Aug 2013

Thanks Karina. They say great fiction is based on fact. History has shown time and again that when people think they know better than God and violate His law, bad things happen even with the best of intentions. We are called to be faithful stewards of our gifts, even Psychic Powers if we had them, to use them for the benefit of others and not to just empower ourselves because as we know Power Corrupts. Your story sounds like it would be a great read for YA to generate discussions about our relationships with each other and even our world as Pope Francis is promulgating.

I urge everyone to check out The Mind Over Trilogy. Please join in the discussion by leaving your comments and Thank You Karina and everyone for reading Warriors World Dad.

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Warriors World Dad Interviews Karina Fabian

Something new is happening today here on Warriors World Dad, a guest interview from fellow Catholic Writers Guild member, Karina Fabian.

Karina is a prodigious writer with ten novels published. By day she writes reviews of various consumer products for Top Ten Reviews. In her so-called free time she writes for PJ Media, Faith Catholic and Saint Connection and creates worlds that are fantastic and thought provoking.

Do you like Dragons? Check out her DragonEye, PI books.

Are you a fan of Zombies? Then you and Neeta Life need to get acquainted.

But today I want to introduce another series Karina has written, The Mind Over Trilogy. This series began with a short story Karina wrote for a college project. Thirty years later we have a tale of epic struggle where the fate of worlds depends on the decisions made by a person with psychic powers, abilities that nearly drove him insane.

Why do an interview like this on Warrior’s World Dad?

Simple: It deals with a war. It deals with struggles Spiritual and Physical, Internal and External.

It deals with sacrificing your good for the good of others.

In short – The Mind Over Trilogy is tailor made for Warriors World Dad!

Warriors World Dad Interviews Karina Fabian

How did this book start? In college, I had the opportunity to write a short story for a final project for a SF literature class. I wrote about a young psychic who accidentally teleported to another planet, met and married the queen, and saved their world. The professor thought I should make it a novel, so I spent a year doing that, then submitted it and racked up rejection letters until I joined the Air Force and put it away. 15 years later, I decided to revamp it. I looked it over and was flabbergasted. The characters were clichés and the plot was thin. So I rethought it: How would someone really react to developing psychic powers? He would not be a cool, well-adjusted college kid. By the time I got done giving Deryl problems associated with his abilities, I had to commit him, and that’s when the story got fun.

We see a lot more of the planet Barin in this book. What can you tell us about that without getting into spoilers? I’m still figuring out Barin, myself. It gave me a few surprises while writing this book, in fact. For example, I didn’t realize how much they understood what the Miscria was doing to their planet. The religion was especially fun to imagine. God is omnipotent and omniscient and unchanging, but how we understand God is influenced by our world. So how does a population of a planet thrown off its natural path see God? A lot of it had to do with “following the right path,” and it was fun to incorporate it into everything from their prayers to the carpeting. The floors have paths drawn or dyed into them. People walk on this path as a matter of faith. In the temples, to step off the path is blasphemy.

Those who have read the first two books know that Deryl was being manipulated by the Master to be a weapon – specifically to kill the Miscria. In the second book, we see a hint that he’s actually part of the Barin’s theology. He’s not just the guy who would save them by killing the enemy, but Deryl, Sacred Weapon, the Path Forger. He’ll have to embrace that role to save both worlds in this book. It was a lot of fun to write, especially since he drags Joshua into it as God’s Mercy, Path Smoother. (Josh is mortified.)

One of the first scenes I thought up for this book was when Joshua and Deryl have to cross a narrow stone bridge over an active volcano. I won’t tell you how they do it, but it was a fun scene.

There’s a Pro-Life message in this trilogy. Did you set out with that in mind? I never write a story with a “Message” (capital M) in mind. I start with a character or characters, put them in a situation, and let them work their way out of it. What they learn and what they teach – their message – is up to them. Having said that, I knew from the beginning that there would be a theme of peace in the book. Deryl was not a murderer, no matter how hard the Master tried to make him one by manipulating his mind. The thread about abortion came out of the blue. That started as just another “rock” I threw at Joshua to make him a better-rounded character, but as his character grew more important to the book, so did the issue because it was very important to him. As far as he was concerned, he had lost a child, had it stolen from him. It took more than getting away from his ex-girlfriend and falling in love again to heal that. While not every father may feel that way about their unborn child, some men do. I didn’t intend for this to be in the book, but since Joshua needed it there, I’m hoping that other men in this situation might find this trilogy and get something out of sharing in Joshua’s struggles. And maybe some women might read this and decide to give their boyfriends a chance to “man up.” Even so, I didn’t plan a message and I don’t want the book to be about a perceived message. It’s a great story.

That’s it for this time. For more information check out http://karinafabian.com/mind-over-all/

 

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Doctor Moreau’s Constitution

Bruce Caitlyn Jenner is everywhere, the newspapers, Facebook, television, radio, Twitter, etc. He is discussed by politicians, church leaders, business leaders, celebrities and normal citizens. Such is the world of 2015.

News Break June 12, 2027

Action movie star and animal rights activist Tasha Talon has announced that she will receive species reassignment surgery to correct a congenital birth defect.

“I was born human, but I’ve known all my life I am meant to be a cat. Anyone who knows me or has seen me perform in the movies knows I have feline proclivities. My true nature is obscured by the error of my birth as human. I was meant to be a cat and soon will know the freedom of being who I truly am.”

Logically, there is no reason now (2015) for such an event to not happen. It is established in popular culture that personal freedom means being who you want to be and doing what you want to do as long as you do not hurt others.

Bioengineers could design hip and knee replacements that would provide people with catlike abilities. Retractable claws could be artificial in the near term but with genetic manipulation who’s to say what would be possible in the next several decades.

The government and private corporations would actually have an incentive to fund the research and the surgeries. An Army comprised of soldiers with the lethal hardware of Tigers, or the strength of Mountain Gorillas. A Navy with sailors transformed into Mermen and Mermaids capable of remaining underwater indefinitely.

We would not have to be content to merely mimic nature, we could surpass it. A legion of enhanced workers who can see in near total darkness via light and sound waves, capable of lowering their oxygen needs to less than ten percent normal and many times physically stronger than an unenhanced human would enable companies to tap rich natural resources less expensively. There would be no need for machinery that breaks down in harsh conditions as replacement workers can be more cheaply grown in the lab than robots could build mechanical excavators.

Such enhanced workers could be culled from the unproductive chronically dependent members of society. They would get a feeling or real self-worth and society would receive a real benefit.

Trans-species reassignment is not only feasible but a necessary next step to creating the Utopia all humanitarians seek.

Caitlyn Jenner – thank you for thrusting us forward. Tasha Talon thinks you make a purrfect woman.

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A Short History of Your Future

Once the tidal wave of Democratic action enabled by Social Media succeeds in establishing Gay Marriage as a Right, that force of Nature will continue on to engage the next obstacle. Polygamy (already in existence) will be officially sanctioned followed by Interspecies Marriage (your Dog, Cat or Goat – PETA will be watching), then for those who love their Car, a Bridge or an Oak Tree, a validation ceremony with complete government recognition will follow.

But marrying an object is not the endpoint of the swell. It will soon become necessary to restrict an archaic, dangerous and abusive rite – Heterosexual Monogamous Marriage. This prehistoric ceremony has the side effect of producing new humans. As the pro-generators, the parents claim they have the right to be the Primary Educator of the child and teach the child according to their beliefs.

The problem with this is obvious as Heterodoxy will be inoculated into the collective with the possibility of wide spread infection. To keep society safe and maintain an atmosphere of harmony, male-female unions where life is possible will have to happen under strict controls. Any offspring that result will then be cared for by the benevolence of the State including Education and Spiritual Beliefs.

To reach ultimate Harmony, the State will have to require that all citizens experience the full range of Joy possible within sexual activity. A schedule of experiences will be developed determining when the first same-sex experience occurs, the first heterosexual experience occurs, and so on for multiple partners, alternate species, and self-stimulatory education. Those identified as deserving of Special Treatment may receive training in Bondage and Domination and other more intense pleasures.

Freedom to choose your preferred method of recreation will of course have to be rationed at first and later assigned by those who are in charge of the Worldwide Village. Only those at the very pinnacle of society who have demonstrated by their decisions that they can make the right choices will be allowed full free choice. The rest will gladly bathe in the glory of their care.

All remnants of past organizations that counsel against this enlightenment will have to be banned and destroyed. In the final permutation, Nirvana will exist throughout the world with each person accepting the Truth as it is given from On High via the Media. Freed from the shackles of ancient beliefs all can then pursue their assigned lot in life looking forward to those moments they can spend with their approved partner(s) during their leisure.

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The Return of the Everlasting King

The Ascension 441px-Sagritz_-_Pfarrkirche_-_Deckengemälde_-_Christi_HimmelfahrtThe Apostles stare up into the sky, Jesus has returned to heaven. The Ascension could also be called The Return of the (Everlasting) King.

In the Lord of the Rings, Aragorn is crowned King by Gandalf before a gathering of Men, Elves and Dwarves. He led an army to defeat the ancient evil, Sauron. He clearly states, “This day does not belong to just one man.”

On Ascension Thursday the Psalm proclaims, “God mounts His throne to shouts of joy, a blare of trumpets to the Lord.” This day does belong to one man, Jesus Christ. He has defeated the most ancient and most powerful of all enemies, Satan.

In the Lord of the Rings history, Sauron is a minion of Melkor, who we would name Satan.

Jesus has won the battle. In heaven He is received as the conquering King whose reign will last forever. How glorious was His reception as countless Angels sang His praises. Instead of a wizard placing a crown on His Head, it is God the Father gesturing for Him to sit at His right hand.

His coronation is witnessed by Angels and by humans who rose from their graves as Matthew attests. Recall in your mind the greatest celebrations ever depicted in a movie of Good’s triumph over Evil, that scene pales in comparison to what occurred when the Everlasting King Returned Victorious.

His victory is our blessing. He has returned to heaven to prepare a place for us. Aragorn says, “Now is the time for peace.” Jesus is the Peace that never ends. Jesus is the light that conquers the darkness. Jesus is King for all forever.

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The Annunciation, Joseph and Us Dads

TheAnnunciationThe Annunciation is first about Jesus becoming incarnate in Mary’s womb. It is also about Mary’s fiat, “let it be down to me according to thy will.” God’s condescension in becoming human and Mary’s yes are the turning point of human existence.

Joseph was absent at the moment the Angel appeared to Mary but once he was informed in a dream by the Angel of the nature of the child, he was never absent again. He was either physically present with Mary and Jesus or spiritually present if he was away for work. For the rest of his life Joseph physically served and guarded Jesus and Mary and spiritually led them as the head of the Holy Family.

Joseph was in every sense Jesus’ father on Earth while he was alive. This means he was theJosephJesusCarpenterShopCorbertGauthierprimary educator for his son in all things. Yes, he taught him to be a Tekton – a worker of wood, stone and metal. But Joseph also taught Jesus about God and instructed him in the Jewish faith. For a very young Jesus, Joseph was the role model for what a father should be.

Joseph was in every sense the husband of Mary. As her Earthly spouse he had final say in their prayer life and where the family would live. For Joseph these were vital as he had to flee Herod’s wrath to protect Jesus and Mary and then decide when it was safe to return.

Of course Joseph was guided by God in all his decisions but for this to occur Joseph had to be attentive to God’s promptings in the care of his family. In this Joseph excelled! How many of us can make the same claim?

The Annunciation is the moment when God goes all in for our salvation. Joseph’s annunciation was the message given him in a dream. At that moment he had to decide if he was all in. For us, each day is another opportunity to decide to be all in for our family. God gave Joseph the grace to accomplish his task. We too have sufficient grace to accomplish our task. There really is no excuse.

When Joseph agreed to marry Mary he did not bargain for the task of raising the Son of God. He did not think he would become a refugee in a foreign land. But as the challenges presented themselves Joseph stood tall and listened and obeyed the promptings of God. We too can hear God’s promptings in our lives, in the Scriptures and at prayer.

Too many families today are suffering because the father, the husband, is not all in. Some men want to be good husbands and good fathers but lack a good role model to copy. This problem can be addressed if more men decide to work to be the best Dad, the best husband, they can be each day. Over time the numbers of good role models will grow and we will reach those men who currently are clueless as to what it really means to be a man.

We can consider this blog our annunciation, our call to action. None of us are perfect but we can hone each other with our particular skills. Together, we can be all in to become the men God created us to be, the husbands we are meant to be and the fathers our kids deserve.

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Where was Joseph

God the Father knew he was going to use Mary to be the mother of Jesus. He also knew that Joseph was going to be her husband and the earthly father of Jesus. He knew this back before he created the world or so the story goes.

Nativity-SceneThe birth of Jesus is celebrated on December 25. It takes nine months for a baby to grow inside the womb of the mother. March 25 therefore is designated the Annunciation of the Lord, which is tomorrow as this article is written.

Joseph and Mary followed the Jewish custom of Betrothal and Marriage. It was a two-step process separated by up to three months between Betrothal and Marriage. But in the culture of the time, once the Betrothal took place the couple were considered vowed to each other and sexual relations with another person would be considered Adultery.

The sequence of events as detailed in the Bible are:

1) Joseph and Mary agree to be married to each other

2) The Angel visits Mary and she is overshadowed and becomes pregnant with JesusTheAnnunciation

3) Joseph takes Mary as his wife.

The Bible tells us that Mary was found to be pregnant before she was with Joseph and that Joseph learns in a dream that the child is the Messiah. He then takes Mary into his home which is final act of the Betrothal – Marriage sequence.

But since Joseph and Mary were vowed to each other before Mary was overshadowed does it not seem proper that Joseph should have had a say in the decision of his future wife becoming pregnant?

Consider a modern engaged couple. The woman agrees to bear another man’s child without the consent of her fiancé. How would that work out?

In the case of Joseph and Mary we must remember that this was all part of God’s plan. Was Joseph’s rights disrespected in this matter?

The short answer is no but requires a bit of explanation.

First, God asked Mary to become the mother of Jesus. She could have said no and God would respect her decision.

Second, God reassured Joseph that Mary had not been unfaithful to him and that the child she was carrying was the fulfillment of the prophecy.

Third, during the time of the early church, the Church Fathers believed that both Mary and Joseph had each taken a vow of celibacy when they were both young, before their engagement to each other, so they could dedicate their entire life to God. For each of them the most important thing was to carry out God’s will in their lives.

Fourth, because of her vow of celibacy, Mary never intended to get married, however the death of her father while she was still young necessitated that she have a husband to be her guardian.

St_Joseph,_portrayed_as_a_young_manFifth, the Priests of the Temple chose the man for her as she was living in the Temple at the time. That man was chosen by lot, and it was Joseph. The sign was his staff flowering.

Sixth, Joseph and Mary both understood that their earlier vows to dedicate their lives to God gave God a prior claim over both their lives.

Seventh, by taking Mary as his wife, Joseph was freely obeying God’s will which was his deepest desire. Mary, consenting to bear Jesus, also freely obeyed God’s will which was her deepest desire.

The final result is two perpetual virgins married to each other and experiencing the deepest longing of their souls which was to serve God totally and completely.

So Joseph did not need to be consulted when Mary, his fiancée, was overshadowed as he had given God total control over his life previously. God not only did not disrespect Joseph but actually granted Joseph his most ardent wish.The Youth of Our Lord John Herbert

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Don’t Fear the Difference

A quip that made the rounds when I was a teenager went, “I believe normalcy is vastly overrated.” We usually pulled it out when some adult complained about our bizarre behavior, behavior that we chose to do just to have fun and act like goofs. Our society is replete with what is Normal. There are normal I.Q. scores and normal test scores for College entrance exams. 120/80 is your normal blood pressure, 98.6 is your normal body temperature. Recently we have been treated to a number called a Body Mass Index that supposedly tells us if we are obese or not. There are normal FICO scores that tell the banks if we are good credit risks and even polls to tell us where we fit into our society as to our political or religious beliefs. How good is it to be normal? Arnold Schwarzenegger would NOT have a normal BMI. Bill Gates probably doesn’t have a normal FICO score. Mother Theresa, now Saint Theresa, would probably fall outside of normal religious practice.

We are inculcated with the belief that we must attain these normal numbers if we are to do well in life. We need at least normal scores for high stakes tests so we have a chance to advance to the next level. Yet Albert Einstein did poorly in school. Recently I learned that Rush Limbaugh flunked debate class in college. In some cases, normal is vastly overrated.

But for parents and grandparents, when they are expecting a newborn baby, the universal prayer is, “Please God let it be healthy,” or to paraphrase, “let him/her be normal.” There is a deeply rooted fear in all parents of having a disabled child. I know, I’ve felt it, eight times. My wife and I are the proud parents of eight wonderful children, four of whom are considered by society to be not normal (re: disabled).

Ken and Stephen’s problems first manifested themselves around the time they were two years old, they have Autism. Joe nearly died from a seizure on his first birthday and he is still dealing with the effects. Devon was already five when we realized he was basically blind in one eye. As a person who spent his entire working life caring for persons with disabilities, I spent many sleepless nights worrying about the future of my sons.

After their child is born, parents next move on to the fear of their child being hurt. This fear is especially exaggerated in first time parents. It starts when they begin to crawl, “will they bang their head into a table”, then onto walking, “will they fall and skin their knees.” Learning to ride a bike brings helmets and knee pads and fears of traffic. The parent of a special needs child faces all these fears and usually for a longer time period than the parents of a normal child. Most seven year olds know to watch out for cars when crossing the street, some mentally challenged persons take until their teens or adult years, and some never achieve this awareness.

Fear of injury to themselves or to others also impacts what parents of special needs kids will allow their kids to do. For many sports is a huge hurdle. “Can my child even do that” they ask? Coaches and parents try to keep the players safe but will often feel a heightened sense of urgency when the player has a disability. As a father and a coach, a Martial Arts instructor actually, I have felt the worry but been gratefully surprised when my sons where given a chance to at least try. The biggest revelation came with an injury Ken received. He got hurt, he got up, and the world continued to spin, just like when I got hurt as a kid and my mom was worried about me. Ken brushed off the injury, a hard fall at Judo class, and kept going. Stephen took a line drive to the head at a recent ball game. He kept playing, the ball was soft fortunately. And Joe crashed his bike into a car. He needed stitches and a sling but quickly recovered. Yep, my sons got hurt, reminds me of me in my younger days.

Normal is not something necessary. It is simply what the vast majority are able to do. Normal skills are inadequate to play professional sports or be a professional singer or actor. In some cases what is considered a disability is an asset. One company only hires persons with Asperger’s Syndrome to debug computer code. In their case, sitting for hours concentrating on line after line of computer code is tailor made for them. A Judo student I had in my class was born with only a partial leg on his right side. A handicap? It was a challenge for him with standing techniques but an asset when we did groundwork.

In my experience as a parent and a professional the biggest handicap that the disabled often face is well meaning Normals who want to keep the Disabled safe. They do not recognize there is such a thing as a Right to Risk and a Right to Fail. That only by pushing ourselves to our limits are we able to exceed our current limitations.

And that is something we all need to do.

AboutDennisPMcGeehan

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