Monthly Archives: May 2016

#SITD2016-A personal story about the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability

I arrived at the Grand Rapids airport at 10:30 pm on Sunday evening somewhat anxious and already quite exhausted. I still needed to connect with someone I didn’t know, rent a car and drive us to Holland, MI, a 40 minute ride to the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability at Hope College. A few days before the trip, my daughter needed unexpected minor surgery. This meant an overnight stay in the hospital amidst much worrying and prayers, not to mention a quick rearranging of schedules. Let’s just say, I was not in a good mental or physical state upon my late arrival in Michigan.
That all began to change, however, the moment I spotted my friend, Shelly Christensenat the airport. Shelly, who is from Minnesota and is a personal friend, FaceBook friend and National Adviser for the FIN Board of Directors, gave me a big hug, exclaimed “Karen!” and then …


Today I participated in an event not unusual for the month of May; a graduation.  Complete with excited family and friends, musicians ready to perform Pomp and Circumstance and festive decorations, this graduation was like the many, many others I have participated in as a student, educator and parent.  And yet, it was so much more as well. You see, this was a ceremony graduating eight young adults who reside at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children.
I rushed into the building at 9:00 am to set up the music stands and percussion equipment for the 16 7th and 8th graders from The Williams School invited to perform.  Some of my students had participated in community service work at St. Mary’s over the past year and were prepared for what to expect at this graduation.  The rest of my students were visiting this amazing residential and educational facility for the first …