I have been thinking a lot about this word of late.
Having recently returned from joyous occasions across the country, communing with disability organizations that celebrate the differences that unite us, on returning home, I am disappointed to turn on the news and see so many messages of anger, hate and disappointment. I have come to the conclusion that in many ways, we are all disabled. Each one of us is broken in some way. Some more so than others, but the disabilities we each live with are simply a matter of degrees.
The entry into the world of a child with a disability is considered to be a tragedy for the family. I remember that feeling well with the birth of Christopher and his early diagnosis of Down syndrome. But soon the shock, and the loss of dreams was overtaken by Love, as it snuck in and took over. Instead of a lifetime of grieving, our family soon realized the special and unique qualities that our child possessed. We were blessed to have this special son to care for.
Having a vulnerable family member reveals what is fundamental in all of us. The need for love and acceptance.
We all need love.
Over the years, I am ever more confused about the negative connotations of the disability diagnosis, a diagnosis handed down when Christopher was born.
As suicide rates climb, and we each sit, glued to the news in shock and disbelief, I can’t help but look in awe at my boy to witness a different kind of intelligence, an intelligence of the heart.
Take a lesson from the millions of innocent people who live with the label of disability, you will find a certain peace, they are kind, thoughtful and non-judgmental and there is much to learn from them.
My son, and kids like him, are teachers of men. With multiple disabilities and related medical conditions, it is Christopher’s pure and strong beating heart that keeps him in the game, all 88lbs, rocking his extra chromosome as he takes endless laps in the garden in his red Go-Kart, defying the doctor’s orders, and living life on his terms, while spreading the love.
Living with my son has transformed my life. Before him my life had been governed by material things, fancy car, cool clothes and money to buy these things. But then Christopher came along, my world shifted, and I began to live from the heart through his teachings.
Let us learn from those folks who wear the label of disability. Let’s not be a society that turns away from people who look different from us, a society without heart, without love, instead, let’s choose to welcome all people and celebrate their differences, they just might have profound lessons to teach us.
Let’s rejoice in the differences that unite us as humans and choose love, it’s a better way.