On Being Blessed

I love it when people bless me!

I love it when the person in front of me in line pays for my coffee. I love it when the waitress comes to our table when it is time to pay the bill and says that someone already took care of our bill. I love it when someone tells me they appreciated something I said or wrote. Whether it is in word, action, or thought, it is so encouraging to be blessed.

Truth is we all enjoy being blessed. We all want something good to happen to us. We want to be encouraged, thought about, praised and respected. We want a smile to come across our faces and a warm and fuzzy feeling to be in our hearts.

Today, I want to tell you a way you can find a great blessing from a place you may never look.   The blessing I am talking about is the blessing of meeting someone with special needs. If you do not have a family member or friend with special needs then you probably feel really uncomfortable when you see someone that is handicapped or has an obvious external difference than you. Maybe you see someone with Down syndrome and you really don’t know how to act or respond so you just look away.   We are all naturally fearful of the unknown.   But, I WANT YOU TO BE BLESSED!.   I want to challenge you to push past your natural discomfort and feelings of anxiety and go and talk to the person with special needs.

Last week at lunch I met a man with Down syndrome as my family was waiting in line for our food. Here is what happened:

“At lunch today, after church, I met a man named Matt. Matt was so friendly. He complemented my family. He had a great big smile and he asked me if my Daughter, Joy, had Down Syndrome. He was so excited to meet Joy. I invited Matt to sit at the table with my family and eat his lunch with us. Matt has a niece that is Joy’s age that he dearly loves. He has written a book, volunteers at the Public Library and worked for 11 years at Kroger. Matt recently lost 70 pounds and is planning on hiking the Appalachian Trial. His joy and passion for life were contagious. I hope to meet with him again.

Matt happened to have Down syndrome as well. He is 41 years old. I was once again reminded what a gift God has given this world by making some people a little different.”

I have been thinking about this encounter all week. My natural response was to just say hello to Matt and be on my merry way.   I took a little extra step and tried to get to know Matt and it changed my day.

I posted about my encounter with Matt on Facebook and it encouraged one of my friends to have a conversation with someone in her town that has Down syndrome.

Here is what she said, “It was great to read about Matt.  I, too, met someone with Down syndrome.  My husband and I were at Pizza Hunt and I saw a friend and his daughter Grace across the dining room. Grace has Down syndrome.  When I finished lunch I went over to speak to them.  I, as many others, hesitated to go over, thinking what would I say or even how would I react to Grace.  Boy, was I in for a surprise.  Grace was so open, so sweet, so out going, so well adjusted.  I had seen her picture in the paper sometime back where she was chosen homecoming queen at her school.  I started the conversation and one thing led to another.  I think we could have visited all afternoon.  She was excited about cheerleading this year.  She is going to be on the varsity team.  Grace loves her daddy very much and her daddy certainly returns that love. She said she was a “hugger” and loved hugs from her daddy.  As they were checking out, Grace came over to our table and gave me a hug and told me good-bye.  If only we all could be as happy and loving as Grace is.”

People with special needs are extraordinary people! Most of them have faced and overcome challenges that “typical” people will never face.   They are full of life and have the spirit of over-comers.   They don’t quit and most people I meet with special needs have great attitudes and outlooks on life.

You could be so blessed today if you would take the time to get to know the person with special needs. Don’t look away; instead make eye contact and smile. If you think it’s appropriate go and meet the precious soul that God put in your path. Just walk across the room.

People with special needs want what all of us want. They want genuine friendships. They want to be loved and accepted for who they are. They want to make a difference in the lives of others.

Want to be blessed today?

IMG_4588Take the challenge to get to know someone with special abilities today!