As a child and into my young adult life I watch my mother as she cared for her mentally and physically disabled brother. I never heard her complain as she served with love and respect. As I became involved with his care I discovered how fulfilling I felt when I knew he was comfortable and happy. I believe this home experience was the motivation that prompted me to pursue training with the Department of Development Disability. This training emphasized the value of each person no matter their mental or physical condition. It brought to memory people in my past that were "different" and were not treated with dignity and respect. I regret not being an advocate for them.
Cheryl came to live with me 8 years ago. She has Downs Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive disorder. We just celebrated her 40th birthday. Cheryl functions the best when she is on a schedule, eating her meals, taking showers, going to bed at the same time everyday. She will watch the clock and not put a morsal of food in her mouth until suppertime at 6:00 sharp! She can read and write and obsesses about making list of groceries (things we don't need), writing birthday/Christmas cards, copying recipes or activities we need to do.
She loves to attend her Sunday School class of about 50 persons with disabilities at First Christian Church. They provide additional activities monthly which we may never dare to miss. She LOVES coffee, shopping, crocheting, bowling, and boys . She plans to be married in 2042! Never been able to figure out the reason for that particular year. She plays bocce and was selected to participate in Special Olympics in Columbus several years ago. What a fun experience that was!
I'm learning it's ok not do everything like "normal" people do. It takes patience and sometimes a change of schedule to make things work for her. But those hugs! They are priceless.
A long time ago I memorized Philippians 2:3 - Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory: but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Didn't realize how practical this verse would be for me now.
Another verse that I think of is Matthew 25:46 - Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.