Abundance or Scarcity? .
1. a copious supply; great amount 2. fullness or benevolence from the abundance of my heart 3. degree of plentifulness
(Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers,2003)
Abundance is not a term commonly associated with today’s social service systems! People who work within publicly-funded social services live in continuous anxiety over looming budget cuts and the imbalance between the needs of many and the limited resources. There is tension about who will qualify for the services, once qualified how long one must wait for actual initiation, if the services will prove to fit individuals’ needs, how long services will be available, and whether the services will be of good quality. Fear, effort, and frustration seem to be a constant state for many families!
What if we were to step away from “the system” for a moment to consider some off-road alternatives… opportunities for work, fun, housing, and friendship that are available within the larger, “non-disabled” community? I question the need for differentiation between the so-called “disabled” and “normal” worlds, but I understand that this is a meaningful distinction for many. I believe that there are many “normal” people in most communities who would welcome opportunities to get to know, work alongside, and include their “disabled” neighbors in everyday work, play, volunteer efforts, worship, and just living a life… given the opportunity and a little support and guidance.
My vision is one of abundance. I see possibilities for inclusion everywhere in the community. I want to facilitate the emergence of a world where the term “disabled” is not commonly used, and the use of alternative means of getting around, communicating, and producing work is considered commonplace and unremarkable.
Organized social services are good and necessary entities in a civilized society. Without them the needs and rights of many would go unmet. However, we should not let their presence distract us from alternative possibilities for unique and personal connections between individuals and their natural communities.