if only we could stop and appreciate the beauty of the world around us, as children do, our lives could be so much better for it!
Last week, my husband took his pickup truck to an organization who works with the disabled, giving them job opportunities they otherwise would not have. In addition to washing vehicles, they also deliver newspaper ad inserts, among other things.
There was an older gentleman there who has the sweetest personality and who, if he feels it is warranted, will write you out a "ticket." As he does so, he will expound on the reasons why you are getting that "ticket" with admonishments of how you can avoid it in the future. Thus it was that my husband had been served!
I looked at the yellow legal pad note that he had received. It was a series of scrawls with an occasional number three, the number was the "fine" that he had imposed upon you. That ticket is on display on my refrigerator.
To me, it was the sweetest gesture I had ever come across. I often wonder about labels, why someone is given a label of mental disability when, to them, they are the most able people that you will ever meet. Sometimes I would like to get inside of the head of these folks, what do they think? How do they regard this world in which we read the news and are witness to some of the most horrendous acts against humanity, while these folks just see what is right in front of them and accept it on faith.
There is a young gal at the school where I work who has Down's Syndrome. It has taken me almost a year to elicit any conversation out of her, but now, when she sees me, she gives me a shy smile, or a thumbs up. Her gentle spirit buoys me; indeed, she is MY inspiration. She probably doesn't lay awake at night with a thousand things flitting through her mind, things that include world peace or the lack of it, balancing a checkbook that is being battered by the increasing cost of just surviving and more. No, she just knows that today she is going to school and she will choose which barrette to put into her blond hair, what shirt will she put on? What will the lunch lady be serving for lunch? And while others may make behind the back comments about these special people, I hold them dear within my heart.
"Let the little children come to me and do not try to stop them for the Kingdom of heaven is for such as these." Mark 10:13
My own sister had Downs' Syndrome. She died too young and took a part of me with her. I think back to my growing up years, when I didn't understand why she was as she was. It wasn't until I was 25 and she, 18, that we became best friends. She always had a joy of life that I envied. When she passed away at age 25, those who attended her funeral, her friends, the ones who also had developmental disabilities, were quick to comfort me. I felt as if I should have been doing more to comfort them.
The labels that society sets upon all of us do not do any of us justice. Black, white, Catholic, Protestant, gay, straight and more just puts us in compartments, a box that we must struggle to free ourselves from. What makes me any different from you...or from that gentleman who spent his time writing out those "tickets?" He may see the world differently than I do, but that should not make him different.
God made us all in His own likeness and image. All of us. Yet since the beginning of time, wars have been fought and people fleeing in exile, just so that they can live out their lives. What will it take before we finally take off those glasses of superiority and just accept one another for who we are?
There but for the grace of God...go you and I.