I have a son named Peter, who is magnificent. He is also complicated–the diagnoses are varied and not often terribly useful: pervasive developmental disorder, obsessive-compulsive tendencies, sensory integration dysfunction, non-verbal learning disorder. The alphabet soup of diagnostic acronyms mostly means that some things most of us do without thinking are hard for him, things like finding a shirt that he can bear to have touch him and shoes that fit exactly right, taking a shower, going to a movie, packing a school lunch, regulating difficult fluctuations in mood with medicine and hard work. Hardest of all is finding a friend. None of his troubles are as visible, or as easy to feel sympathy for, as many disabilities. It sometimes takes a while for people to see past the quirky and difficult behavior to the boy who can make anything–ANYTHING–out of cardboard and duck tape, whose eyes well up while he reads Little House on the Prairie (he is so going to kill me for this when he’s older!),who is heartbreakingly tender and protective with little children, who is planning to go to Harvard because he knows how to get home on the subway from there, who likes nothing better than to be at the tail end of the Elders’ Quorum moving brigade and will cheerfully carry boxes for 8 or 10 hours.
Peter is one of two Boy Scouts in our ward’s troop, and the other one doesn’t come very often. But the Scoutmaster is there every week, and not just there, but well-prepared, with a new skill to impart, a challenge, a treat. Tonight he pulled into the church parking lot with a half-dozen 12-foot long poles tethered to the top of his Civic, and my boy came home a couple of hours later, his face shining with joy, to tell me about the suspension bridge (!) they were working on.
I paraphrase: Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me an ice cream sandwich: I was bored, and ye took me camping: I was a little uncoordinated, and ye played a dozen games of PIG with me; I was sad and ye taught me to tie knots; I was lonely, and ye knew that building a suspension bridge would be just the thing…
Blessed are the Scoutmasters.