|My mentor, my daughter|
You don’t have to go to church to know that there is a God:
and no church or temple will bring you closer than the structure you call your
soul. You can look in the bricks and mortar but he is not there, only the
believer’s that go there to gather in his name. You can practice your faith as
you see fit, and feel you are close to Him.
I don’t look to bring any gospel to anyone, me, I am too
busy learning from some great teachers, people who have a mission in life to
make others heal, to make others feel equal and part of their society, allowing
the full participation of everyone, the healthy and the weak, the strong and
the disabled, everyone. They are the children of God, and the true teachers:
I spent a weekend up in Albany at the NYSARC convention for
people who have developmental disabilities and saw first hand how this works,
how people, many of them old and disabled themselves, people who rode around in
carts or stood shakily on canes, hobble and limp to a microphone to ask a
question or make a statement. When
they spoke I looked into their eyes and saw a lifetime of pain, of deep fear
and constant worry, what would happen to their child when they are gone? I saw
tears and I saw anger, I saw questioning and I saw the deep far away look of
what they fear.
To clearly see a person with Developmental Disabilities you
need to be able to read the eyes of the parents and siblings, hear the tone of
their voices and then you feel the pain in their hearts.
Then and only then do you see that life expands and
contracts according to our courage. We can be observers of the world as it
turns, frequently upside down and never raise a finger or a voice, and wait for
someone else to come along and right the wrongs and ills of life, wonder when
he or she will arrive, and at the end of the day, wonder why no one ever showed
up. We could wail and raise our fists in anger and protest and curse those who
could make it better, as when we slam the door shut at the end of the day, look
carefully around you, because he/she is standing in your shoes!
How do I know this, my daughter told me so! She doesn’t
speak, can’t make any real discernable sounds but the laughter and love in her
heart. She sees and loves and makes my day fulfilled with the greediness I have
for her approval, the unspoken love that shines through her eyes and heart, when
she sees me for the first time and runs into my arms and hugs me until I my
back hurts from the sheer enjoyment of her happiness.
I hear it in others too, the pride of someone who has a
brother or child who can speak or walk while being challenged, but faces the
Sometimes when I get together with fellow board members, we
will commiserate about those we are working for, and how wonderfully their
child or sibling is doing, taking ordinary tasks we take for granted with pride,
these children or siblings carry with them in their very being. THEY seem to
teach us that life is more than an electronic gadget or a cruise or a great
meal, it is about taking pride in everything we do with passion and love, and
doing it to better themselves. When I hear these stories, it is like a tonic, a
cure to my own life knowing the time I spend working for them is indeed healing
my heart too!
To be in God’s company means to follow the tears, follow those
who need rather than those who have. We don’t need to throw away any happiness,
money or time of our own: we just need to expand our love and courage to others
who are in need. I don’t mean people with disabilities only, but all of our
brothers and sisters, then all of us will share equally here on Earth and maybe
some day, if there is: in heaven.
Address: 1231 Taft Hwy, Signal
Mountain, TN 37377
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