I’ve been reading some Jean Vanier lately for some work I am doing on theology and disability, and I’ve come across what appears to be an idea central to his thought – that at our core, as fallen humans, is a wound of loneliness. Most of what we do is develop strategies to protect this wound, and most of our relational decisions stem from how we respond to others in the midst of our woundedness. The disabled, for Vanier, are special because they tap into our wound in a way others do not. The disabled, and I’m thinking mostly mentally disabled here, do not pick up on the kinds of strategies we usually employ in conversations, nor are they impressed with the kind of things that impress the world. Instead, they want someone to be with them, to love them, and not leave them. The disabled only want what we do, and yet they refuse to settled for what we do (i.e. shallow conversations, approval, etc.).