"Open your heart - open it wide; someone is standing outside"
From Believe: A Christmas Treasury by Mary Engelbreit
I have a special place in my heart that opens for those with what society dubs as 'Special Needs'. You know, after Michael retired from the military he served as Director for a school/hospital for children w/Cerebral Palsy and Spine bifida. It served many purposes for the children as well as their parents...a wonderful place.
Among some of the 'get away's' was an annual field trip to Six Flags in Arlington. It required nurses, aides, etc...a big operation from the get-go and everyone had a blast...a very big blast. One of the bennies was always going to the head of the lines or being escorted right on the rides...those the kids could handle.
Lots of folks would stop and give us money to 'treat' the kids...they wanted to help a little. Along w/that we always got lots and lots of looks...most of them were sympathetic looks with lots of love thrown in. That was a good thing. Being kind is a very good thing...like Jesus.
I've spent a little time with a very nice young man the last couple of weeks and he's enjoyed telling me that he enjoyed acting weird. Okay, I can handle that...you betcha. He's cute and interesting.
A few days ago we had another opportunity to be together ~ he's a sacker and for the third time in three weeks he happened to sack me up again. On the way out he greeted everyone who entered with a nice welcome and then asked me how my day was going; I replied it was going great...and asked about his! He replied that it was okay...adding that he had never had many 'good days' and always had a very hard life...I asked him why that was the case.
All of this now before reaching my car...he said he had always been made fun of because people seem to enjoy doing that to special needs people like himself. All the way through school, he was bullied, teased and (I smiled at this next remark) even the cheerleaders did it. Oh!
Seems this job is the first one he's had other than being a busboy...even the 'fellow bussers' harassed, insulted and you get the picture, I'm sure!
I told him of the success my special needs friends had in the work force and he was very encouraged...saying perhaps he could do that in the future...he's now 21 years old. I told him to never, ever give up and he said he had no intention of doing so. Told me to have a good day.
As he wheeled the basket away and was almost out of my sight...he looked back with a bright smile and said, "Thank you, Ma'am. I really enjoyed talking to you today." And I have tears in my newly fixed eyes!
"Sometimes someone says something
really small, and it just fits right
into this empty place in your heart"
~From the television show My So-Called Life
He fits right into this heart of mine...so? I encouraged him but in return he gave me something so very, very special. He encouraged me to continue to always, always make and take the time to "open my heart, open it wide for that someone standing outside"...oh yes!
By the way, his name is Sparrow and I think of what the scripture says about the little bird in Matthew 10:29.
"And God cares what happens to it
even more than you do."
From my heart...to yours