Wow! Some days are just right. Even though there has been a lot of stress and challenge with the various aspects of Targa NL Grand Touring today, there have been so many unexpected blessings.
In so many ways, things are just getting in the grove. Even though both Racing with the Reverend Teams are doing exceptionally well, It seems as if the preparation and training that the teams have undergone have made a lot of difference to our experience. The difference has not been in our standings; in fact the difference that I have observed has more to do with the camaraderie and fellowship that have been created. This is a fellowship that has been created because each and every individual of the team believes that individuals and families with autism are valued and loved. Each and every part of our team, whether the team of seven on the road, or the full Racing with the Reverend team of thirteen – all members care deeply for those affected by autism and ASD.
It is amazing the quality and amount of ministry that can be completed by those who love, care, and connect deeply, not only with the cause, but also with other members of the community, the team. Each of us over these past days has found great value in this cause, and I believe, has found deep connection with our Creator in the work that we are doing. Though this is Racing with the Reverend, it is not the Reverend that is the focus. The children and their families are the focus. The way that they emulate the presence and love of God is the focus. The way that they make the community deeper and more enlightened because of their presence.
We have our differences and our gifts as individuals within the team, and in many ways we are quite dissimilar. It is in these differences I believe that the strength and the compassion of the team is fully felt and realized. As Saint Paul identifies, we have varieties of gifts, for varieties of purpose, to join in the work of our creator who loves each of us and dearly cares for us.
This is seen in the different forms of community that I experience. Whether it is our family community, our workplace/school community, our church community or our wider communities, as individuals we are exposed to others, and have opportunity to work with others. It is in this working that we find ways to agree, disagree, set goals, excel, and live our lives beyond ourselves.
In all of this, I see the Racing with the Reverend team exhibiting a presence of community spirit that is akin to the images of love and care that is seen between family that deeply cares. I see this is in the stories of Jesus and the disciples, of stories of triumph amid great challenge, strife and need.
The trouble with being in the groove is that there are times when communities fall out of the groove. When there are new members, things change. When the expectations or standards of a group changes, the groove changes.
There is no doubt in my mind and heart that when communities, be they families, groups, or churches, accept the presence of those with autism and ASD, the groove changes. Persons need to learn new skills, need to expect difference, need to make accommodation.
This is so essential. I, or others in the Racing with the Reverend team could have easily limited our membership. We could have said no to persons we perhaps were unsure of, or didn’t know. This would have limited the ability and presence of God in our midst, in the midst of the community, and in the midst of those whom we are called to assist.
As humans, we want to get in a groove. We want to know the rules, the parameters; we want to be in control. We want to be recognized for the things that bring glory and praise to self. In the groove means being in community. Being in the groove doesn’t mean being in the place we want to be. It means being in the place where God can use us the most.