ALKING INTO THE RESTROOM while visiting Disneyland with my family, I observed a mentally challenged man being verbally abused while struggling to use the bathroom. An older gentleman I perceived to be his father was there to help his son. The coward who was verbally abusing this poor soul made his exit as I was entering. I’m not sure what I would have done if he hadn’t left immediately. And don’t even ask me what I was tempted to do to the coward . . .
Why do I relate the details of this story? I will explain in a minute.
Since 2007, Corpus Christi Watershed has received thousands of E-mails and letters expressing gratitude for the ministry we provide. Out of every hundred letters, perhaps one is negative. All the rest are positive. Sadly, instead of staying focused on the positive letters (99%), I’m the type of person who dwells on the negative comments (1%). I have no idea why. I have a feeling that many of the musicians reading this article might suffer from the same defect when it comes to parishioners who critique their work.
Furthermore, from time to time, Watershed is the object of slander. A few weeks ago, a false and libelous article was published by an organization which is opposed to our work for ideological reasons. The article contained just enough “nuggets” of truth to make it believable to anyone who has not carefully examined the facts. I believe this scurrilous rubbish will mislead people, but as everyone knows, when it comes to internet publications, almost nothing can be done to prevent the spread of defamatory statements, no matter how demonstrably false they are. These are incidents I ought to ignore, but (as I’ve already mentioned) I find myself inclined to dwell on them.
Had I been delayed before walking into that restroom, I wouldn’t have witnessed the shameful treatment of the mentally handicapped man by the coward. I didn’t enjoy being present for such cruelty, and, to speak truth, was absolutely horrified that a human being could show such viciousness to a defenseless, innocent, struggling soul.
Yet, I thank God for reminding me that many people carry heavier crosses than I can imagine. It was an opportunity to count my blessings. Furthermore, something became patently clear to me: people can be real jerks.
Furthermore, I thank God for allowing me to witness the amazing love the elderly father had for his mentally handicapped child. I remember quite clearly the answer Fr. Peter Gee gave to our high school religion class, when one of my classmates (as usual trying to irritate the teacher) asked if severely mentally handicapped people ought to be murdered so they can go straight to heaven. Fr. Gee spoke of one of his relatives, saying, “This tender soul has elicited such love from each member of our family and brought us together in unbelievable ways. Perhaps this is why God allowed him to be mentally handicapped.” Since 1973, more than 56 million innocent children have been murdered and millions more have been killed in secret (i.e. not recorded). Many were killed because they were handicapped in some way. I wish the ones who made the decision to murder could have heard and considered Fr. Gee’s anecdote. If Fr. Gee’s conjecture is true, God must value charity (i.e. love) very highly.
To make a long story short, I believe these two revelations will help me finally learn to stop dwelling on the negative: (a) being inspired by the love shown by the father for his son; (b) realizing that some people in this world are jerks and derive pleasure only from wickedness and hatred.
Very soon (possibly within the next two weeks) our Blog will begin to accept comments. At that time, I will create a page where people can post their positive comments about our ministry. Then, if those of us who contribute to CCW projects happen to feel depressed, we can visit that page to remind ourselves that the work of CCW is important and helps many good people. Furthermore, perhaps these comments will help “defend” CCW against libelous online articles like the one mentioned above.