SEARCHING FOR COMMUNITY
A Vocation Disabled

April 2009By Lindy Morelli

Lindy Morelli works as a counselor in Pennsylvania.

It was happening again. I bared my soul to reveal my spiritual restlessness, my floundering for a place to belong, a true community. And once again, someone was telling me I should be satisfied with what I had. After all, I was a baptized Catholic, therefore an integral member of the Church, and I had been permitted to take private vows -- poverty, chastity, and obedience -- approved by the bishop and renewable on a yearly basis. Why could I not be grateful for the graces I had received?

If only it were so simple. If only it were as simple as following a separate set of guidelines for people with disabilities.

Due to an accident at birth, I lost my sight completely. Although my family did their best to give me a sense of well-being, my parents divorced when I was young. As I grew up, I felt alone and abandoned. However, in my misery, I turned to God. I came to understand that life is empty without Him. Without God, everything seems purposeless. While my heart ached for peace in so many ways, I found immense fulfillment in Him.


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Thank you very much for your deeply personal and moving story. I recently lost a brother who was the last in everything in life but love.He was a little slow at the academic level, unpresupposing in stature and in his twenties developed schizophrenia just as he was about to enter his vocation of life.

His good friend Stephen recounted what a strong little guy he was and how he'd often say, "You can't win them all." Everything he 'won'in his hardfought life was taken away from him. The disease removed his hope of a loving relationship and family. It took away his great pride in his job as he could no longer work, and it took away even his belief that those around him loved him. He was tormented by paranoid delusions. He is always in the background of most family pictures when we look back at them, and the agenda of the day was not usually his agenda, but somebody elses. Only later in life as we caught glimpses of existence beyond our own sphere, did it start to becom clear that my beloved brother Geof, who was loved by every single person he came in touch with, was the truest and greatest person in our family, in our community. He carried more in a single day than I would even let my self imagine due to the suffering and assault of my vanity. Everything is vanity. His life showed this to us. He was the love at the heart of the family, a source of many tears and sorrows for his mother who was so hurt at the slights life handed him with slight regard. It was hard for her to see his magnicence of spirit, his simple faith; his ability to live a life where he could not for long win anything but a cross. I see now that he was a prophet, one we thought cursed by God, but who in reality was Christ among us, suffering us all. We like to think in our family that when we arrive and see meet Saint Peter at the gate, that our beloved son and brother Geof will be a little to the side, and perhaps a little in the background, but that he'll look over at our self-absorbed selves and grin perhaps saying to Saint Peter. "It's OK, they're with me."
Posted by: P Boire
March 13, 2012 10:25 AM EDT
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