Monday, June 02, 2008


So I got a few emails about yesterdays post, particularly about the Psalm that I referenced, 68:6 ... I didn't quote it because I thought it might be fun for those that wanted to know what it said to hunt it down. Mistake. There are so many translations and no guarentee that others will have Bibles with the same wording as mine that some were completely perplexed by the reference. So, here's what my Bible says ...

God sets the lonely in families

I remember reading that long ago and being incredibly and powerfully moved by those six words, six words - like "I love you" twice. The image that formed in my mind, immediately upon reading the words, was not of the traditional family at all. But of being set down in a place of family, a place of welcome, a place of belonging. That I could be, might be, would be, set down in a place where I mattered and where people were of my kind and kindly because of it.

This is where I first got an understanding of the word 'community' and why I often find my thinking at odds with the 'community living' movement. That big, huge and frightening 'community' that they seem to be talking about is exactly what I fear - it's the thing that rejects almost as often as it accepts, that throws away as often as it keeps, that hurts as often as it harbours. I didn't want that community. I wanted the smaller 'familial community' that community of brothers and sisters, that community of equals, that community of companions.

God sets the lonely in families

So much of my work has been driven by this idea. That belonging is possible. That relationships are possible. Seeing the loneliness in the lives of so many with intellectual disabilities doesn't depress me, it inspires me - knowing that everyone can be 'set' in community, in family. This week at Vita our whole team of teachers, those that teach about relationships, about handling emotion, about self esteem, about safety ... gets together. We are all driven to create people ready to embrace their own community, establish their own relationships ... people that will know what to do when ... set in families. I don't know but I wonder if this is the idea that drives each one of them too. Maybe it does, maybe something else inspires them - but it doesn't matter because it's a joyous group - I feel when with them that I have been set in family.

Honestly I couldn't tell you what the rest of the Psalm is about. I don't find the Psalms full of beautiful poetry like so many others do, I find their rhythms clunky and their wording obscure. But I do find beauty there, in phrases and ideas ... most are like bits of overheard conversations. And that's what I felt when I first read those 6 words. Like I'd overheard something beautiful being said - and tho the words weren't said to me, they were said for me ...

God sets the lonely in families

I too know what it is to be lonely and to be set in a family.

And therefore, I know, grace.


rickismom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rickismom said...

(Sorry. Wanted to change something.)

"I find their rhythms clunky and their wording obscure." That's only because you are reading in translation. In Hebrew psalms are anything but.

A note:
Did anyone else see this "gem"?
“The Seven Network's All Saints program has sparked controversy after implying that Down Syndrome is brought on by incestual relationships.”


PS Thanks Dave for the "visit" to my post yesterday.

Belinda said...

I love the thought that God "sets the lonely in" families because it means that no one ever has to be lonely due to lack of family.

How cool to think that our "family" is out there and we just have to discover them. I have found many of mine, and I love my "God family" as much as my flesh family--and of course it can always be added to. It isn't any more "chosen" than my flesh family was; other than by God--but I'm so glad we are "together." It's a forever thing; a commitment through thick and thin.

Gwen said...

Hi Uncle Dave!
This is a lovely post. You're right, that's grace -- to be recognized as the "lonely" and to be accepted and loved and set in. This little verse is a big one for me too.

Shan said...

Uncle Dave:

When I read your reference yesterday I went to and looked it up (because, you know, walking over to the shelf and flipping an actual page would just be TOO HARD) and loved it.

What's interesting to me is that God's gifts are not ever what they seem to be. "Setting the lonely in families" doesn't just mean "setting the lonely around the hearth and handing them Christmas presents" but "setting the lonely in complex relationships with difficult situations, potential for exasperation and dispute, all mixed up with and tempered by unconditional love". There's ease and comfort there, but there's also pain....which grows you.

-Niece Shannon
PS: I will now address you as "Uncle" because I just found out yesterday that you would be pleased by it...I think I thought you wouldn't!