Saturday, November 7, 2015
I Am Ashamed to Admit This
I am ashamed of this post.
Not really of the post itself, but what I am going to reveal in this post.
Over the years God has placed several special needs people into my life. I think the first special needs individual that I knew was Glen. Glen was a man that lived in the “County Home” where my parents were the superintendents. Glen only had one hand and was mentally handicapped. Because there were no other kids that lived nearby and because Glen was mentally on the level of a six or seven year old which was my age at the time, we became best friends. I never thought of Glen as special needs. We were best friends.
Later, when we lived in Pennsylvania, God placed other special needs kids in my path. I remember one girl, Valerie, who for some reason took a fondness to me and would call me at home to talk. Another special needs girl lived next door. I would always try to treat them kindly.
Of course, now, God has blessed me with two special needs boys and has put other special needs individuals in my life as well. Although my two boys are high functioning special needs and will prayerfully live quite successful lives on their own, many of the special needs people that I know will never be able to live on their own. I enjoy working with them all.
Here’s where the shame part comes in. Although I tried to always be kind to folks that were different than I was to their face, there were times that I was unkind behind their back. I don’t know when it began or why. Maybe it was peer pressure. Maybe I looked at other kids around me and saw the way they made fun of special needs kids and just went along with them. Maybe it was because I had the tendency (and still do at times) to blurt out things without thinking. I don’t know what it was, but I am embarrassed now about it.
I remember one time when I was in high school I was involved in a Christian Fellowship club that was led by one of the teachers. For a time I stopped going. When the sponsoring teacher asked me why, I kind of hedged around and said that it was because of all of the special needs kids that were attended. He immediately chastised me and deservingly made me feel like two cents for even thinking of such a thing.
There were other times that I was insensitive. As I mentioned, just the thought of me saying or feeling those things make me feel shame. I pray that I have learned lessons from those mistakes and I pray that people remember me for my soft heart rather than those few insensitive incidents.
One of the things that I do, and encourage others to do, is get involved in the special needs community. Today I was privileged to be able attend the Miss Fabulous pageant for our area of middle Tennessee. The volunteers and people that organize it make all of the participants feel like kings and queens. Our friend Patricia was a participant. She, as usual, hammed it up and was fantastic. Below are some pictures from this wonderful event. I would encourage all of you to volunteer at or just attend one of these events to cheer on the very special participants. I know you will be blessed.