2 SAMUEL 5:4-7
4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years.
6 The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, “You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.” They thought, “David cannot get in here.”
7 Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion—which is the City of David.
I watched Dumbo last week with the twins. There were too many tears and too many tissues wasted for me to get into the full emotional vortex that was Dumbo. But I’ll just say this: Did you remember he was supposed to be named “Jumbo Jr” after his father but the other mother elephants re-named him “Dumbo” after they got a look at him? He’s an elephant. There’s a reason the Colocasia plant is commonly known as “Elephant Ear.” They are supposed to be big and goofy looking. But even in the elephant world it’s not good to be different. Nothing is the same once you view it through the mom lens, or the bifocaled special needs mom lens.
Why is the taunt here, as David marches against the Jebusites, “even the blind and the lame can ward you off”? Why do they default to the cripples, the weak, the ones with disabilities as the fodder for their jeers? I’ve often wondered this as I hear news stories about children with special needs getting bullied at school or adults with special needs getting assaulted on the street. There is some sort of evolutionary instinct to dominate that makes me fear for Charlie.
But then I read about a woman last week who received hurtful comments about her baby’s cleft palate and how people rallied to support and encourage her. And then I think about how many people have come to know Charlie’s story and the good that has come from the person God made him to be, diagnoses and all. I remember that David was not always an established king. He was just a boy, the youngest of many boys, and yet he was picked to beat a giant and fight for a kingdom. I remember the first disciples were fishermen and friends and nothing special really until their mission became clear. I remember that Mary Magdalene was possessed by evil spirits before Jesus healed her and she devoted her money and the rest of her life to spreading his message.
The world’s will always trend towards shouting down the weak. Difference, especially when it involves vulnerability, does not mix well with the individualistic pursuit of success that society preaches, both consciously and unconsciously. But the greatest irony of the Bible is that God uses the weak for the greatest purpose.
When you think about it, being the best is such a small goal. My prayer for my family is that we will remain vulnerable because I want us to be part of something bigger than our little world. I know Charlie will get teased at some point. I know I will not remain calm when that happens. But in the grand scheme of things, I believe Charlie could be a David in some ways. He could be someone to fight against expectations. He could defeat the giant tide of competition and perfection by simply being himself.