If you suddenly became completely disabled, what would you do? Where would you turn for the help that could let you stay off the streets as a sick homeless person? Most of us haven’t given thought to that. Congress is getting ready to cut billions of dollars out of the program that lets a companion come in to keep you at home and cared for. They think they are saving money (we all know we are out of money), but this action is shortsighted since it costs four times as much to keep a person in a nursing home or other institution as it does to keep them at home with assistance. Where are the brains in this dilemma? Why is necessary for 76 demonstrators to address this issue to be arrested? As of June, the Back To Work Program will be cut. At a time when we need people employed and paying taxes, Congress is helping us make these jobs and people disappear with their magic eraser. If we don’t see them, they don’t exist.
Also speaking of money. Here is another dilemma. Transition programs have been cut that would allow a deaf person to receive training, get a job and pay taxes. Transition programs have disappeared because of budget cuts that would let our disabled high school graduates find a job, be a productive citizens and pay taxes. When these high school graduates have no place to go, guess what happens; a parent has to quit a job to stay home with them. More job cuts. One in five persons is disabled, so the ripple effect of this particular cut is not even measurable, but it is gigintic. All these valuable, disabled citizens are asking for is safety and a chance to be productive citizens.
I’ll step off my soap box to wish you happy spring and beautiful summer even though New England has snow. If you are one of the persons affected by these cuts, it is even more important to take a deep breath (if you can) and enjoy some moments celebrating the beauty around you. There ARE people out there going to jail for you, and there is HOPE someplace along the way.
The Methodist Church needs to stand up and shout that they invite, welcome and will integrate all persons with disabilities, and giving a taskforce elevated standing and responsibility as a committee is one way to declare and implement it.
Annual conferences of the United Methodist Church elect half lay and half ministerial delegates to attend the General Conference of the church. Petitions and legislations are presented at this conference. This year a very important piece will be presented to change the Taskforce on Disabilities to a Committee on Disabilities. The distinction is very important in a number of ways, more than I am an expert about, but I do know that the function of a task force is to gain information and work to complete a task. Thanks to dedicated personnel, the takforce has accomplished most of its goals, and now it needs to move ahead in a more recognized and important way.
Disabilities cut across the vast reach of the entire Methodist church. One in five persons has a disability, and many of these five have one or more caregivers, so congregations need to be aware of this statistic, and they need the help of a committee on disabilites of the Methodist Church to help them know how to serve these persons with safety and love. It’s not with malice that we do not serve these persons; it is basically that many churches do not know what to do and how to do it. A committee on disability will be a goldmine of information and inspiration. If you are a delegate, please vote to implement this committee. If you are not a delegate, please consider this important issue and pray for the General Conference that members may see with clarity that God’s love extends to everyone, and the church is a means for saying this.
It’s pretty well known that I like classical music, but I really like all kinds. My new favorite is the theme song for a public television program called “New Tricks,” and is about some chronologically aged persons who form a special detective task force for hard cases. The song goes like this, “It’s all right. It’s okay. Doesn’t even matter if you’re old and gray. It’s all right. It’s all fine. Doesn’t even matter if the sun don’t shine. Listen to what I say.” Hope I didn’t break any laws by quoting this on line! Guess I like this song because I’m old and gray (white hair instead) and, although I don’t need a permission slip, it does provide one that says, “Yes. It’s okay!”
I think I could join New Tricks and I would have made a good detective since I always love a mystery, and I was inspired by my mom’s friend, Dovie Wells, who at the age of 60 sent off for a finger print training class by mail. We all got finger printed and classified, and Dovie always thought she would catch some crooks, but the crooks never left finger prints when they took her lawn mower, wheelbarrow and other outdoor things like chairs and a hammock. But she finished the class and was ready for ’em.
Friends of Chamber Music at Rice University brought us the Vienna Piano Trio last night, three accomplished musicians who work together so much the think as one to create the best sounds in the business. As an “old” string player, I was awed by the first violinist who was so on target with such pure sounds, I figure the discipline required to become this good must have cost him a lot of time. We could all do well in using this kind of long term discipline in all parts of life.
All you Christians out there —Happy Easter, the time when Jesus becomes more and more alive to us and assures us that we can have new life both now and after death.