Today I went to the library to drop off some books. I drove into the parking lot toward the drop box. There were only two cars in the parking lot because the library is closed on Thursdays. I noticed a young man about 20 years old standing next to a car. He obviously had Down Syndrome. As I passed by he waved, and I waved and smiled at him. I pulled up to the drop box and got out of my car to drop off my books. ( I realize that you are supposed to pull up to the drop box and stay in your car, but I have never had good luck not hitting the curb, so I get out instead.) Anyway, so as I get out of my car I hear the young man yelling to his mother in the car, he was really excited about something and very animated. As I listened, I heard him say “she waved at me!”. I realized then that the young man was telling his mother that I had waved at him and he was so excited about it. I got back in my car and just cried. I had no idea that such a small gesture could mean so much to a person. I try to smile and wave at people who wave at me, it’s the south after all. But this young man was not just being polite, he was genuinely happy that I paid attention to him. I am sure he doesn’t get a lot of smiles and waves. I would bet he gets made fun of and ignored by most people. Young men like him are not widely accepted by most people because he is “different”. Having a son who is “different” has really opened my eyes to other special needs children around me.
As I thought about my encounter with this young man, I realized how special he is. God made him as he is for a reason. Some might think that God made a mistake, but that is not the case. 90% of all babies who are diagnosed with Down Syndrome while still in their mother’s wombs are aborted each year. What a tragedy! These children are precious! They see the world through such innocent eyes and find joy in the simplest things, such as a smile and a wave. I wish I could be more like that. I wish I could find a smile or a wave from someone passing by as exciting as that young man did, but I am too busy.
I think most of us could learn a thing or two from this young man. One, is that we all need to stop and find joy in the simple things. We also need to take time to smile and be kind to those around us that we might find it hard to love. Those who might be different. And lastly, there are so many children with Down Syndrome who need a family to love them. Take a minute to look at this website, http://reecesrainbow.org/. It’s a website with hundreds of children around the world who need to be adopted. Pray about what God may be asking you to do. Maybe he is calling you to adopt one of these precious children or maybe He is calling you to give so someone else can adopt them. Most children in foreign countries with Down Syndrome are placed in orphanages. Within the first year, most of those will die of neglect. You can change that. As you think about Christmas this year, pray for this young ones around the world and see what God may be placing on your heart to do. We can all pray for these children.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for this post. Brought tears to my eyes as I read it this Christmas morning. I have been a Reece’s Rainbow prayer warrior for a long time now. I have been a special education teacher for 13 years and have spent much of that time trying to help others see how exceptional all my students are.