What a wonderful gift each and every person is in this world! Tonight I found myself once again watching one of my fave shows in the world; “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Tonight’s episode was a re-run from the past year. However I had not seen it yet! Tonight Ty and the gang headed to Purdy, MO where they went to rebuild the Teas’ home. The Teas’ started Camp Barnabas for children with disabilities. I must say I always cry when I watch this show but tonight something hit me and I was crying harder than Ive cried at anything in a really long time. Each of the kids there melted my heart and once again made me realize that each of us is born with a God-given gift and it doesnt matter if we have an abnormality, or if we are black or white, or if we are Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, etc…I think you get my point. But there is just something about children/adults with disabilities. They have such a joy for life, for each other, and for their families. This past summer I had the opportunity to work with Special Olympics. It was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen. These children/adults work so hard to be able to compete. They love Special Olympics and for many of them, Special Olympics is their life! When I interviewed for my current/new job, some of the kids asked how they could get more involved with Special Olympics and from that moment, I knew that I was called to come to Zion. One of the families here has a son with a disability and he has become my buddy. He is such an amazing child who has such a joy for life. I cant even put into words how it makes me feel when I am around him. Recently the Farrelly brothers released a movie called “The Ringer.” “The Ringer” stars Johnny Knoxville who most recently starred in the “Dukes of Hazzard.” In the movie, Johnny’s character pretends/fakes having a disability because he is to win a race and he figures this is the only race he can win. I have not seen the movie yet myself so Im not sure how the athletes are portrayed. However the Farrelly brothers approached Special Olympics Internation and the only way they could make the movie was to use real athletes so the athletes in the movie are true Special Olympics athletes. What can I say my life has been changed by so many children/adults with disabilities. They have helped me to treasure each and every moment, each and every day. They have made me realize that each and every one of us especially these children/adults are gracious gifts given to us from God above.And tonight as I close, I leave you with something that Ed said as they were talking about the kids at Camp Barnabas. He said, “Who has found themselves just staring a little too long at someone with a disability? He thought for a moment and raised his hand and went on to say never again will I do that. My prayer tonight is that we all chose to not look so hard the next time we see someone with a disability. Instead I ask for us to learn from their examples and to remember to treasure every day, every hour, every minute, and every moment! In the words of the Special Olympics oath, “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt,” let us strive to always do our best. Or in the words of the Camp Barnabas mission, help us to fulfill their mission of “Enlarging the spirit! Encouraging the heart” of every child with a disability.
For more information about Special Olympics, check out www.specialolympics.org!