A "SPECIAL" ADDITION TO MY ONGOING-THANK YOU LIST.
Several years ago, I wrote about being Thankful for those who were born "different"---like Bill. Bill's last name was Keith and he was very large and scary-looking to those of us growing-up in his neighborhood.
Even in his teen years, Bill liked to chase the kids around him, as he yelled and grunted, and made loud, gutteral sounds. I was extremely- afraid of him and seldom went in the front yard--- afraid I might encounter Bill. He lived one block from my house, in his mother's boarding house at 24th and Linden.
Determined I would lose my fear, my father took me by the hand and walked me to Bill’s house. Bill’s mother explained that her only child, Bill, was born with Mongolism (later renamed Down syndrome) and was classified as a Mongoloid. She apologized for his wild actions and overly-friendly behavior but, in spite of his eighteen year old body, he could only think and act-like a five year old. That experience was life-changing for me.
Years later, when I chose to enter the field of Special Education, I often thought of Bill. How sad that most of the neighborhood feared him. If only we had known about Bill’s disability; if only we had understood that, in spite of his size, Bill was just a kid like us. Bill was just a child... living in a big-boy's body--who simply wanted to play, have friends, and be like everyone else. All those years have past yet-- I still remember Bill.
AND…I always say "THANK YOU, GOD" for the songs in my heart. When I find it difficult to write and express my thoughts-- there are times I open my mouth and start singing. I always get satisfying results when I sing, regardless of the song. “Don’t worry if it’s not good enough….for anyone else to hear…..just Sing, Sing a Song!”
Life is precious. In spite of the good times, bad times, and cliff-hanging moments….I am so thankful for life----- my very-unique and wonderful life. I loved teaching my Special Education Students to sing songs I wrote----especially for them: “ You could search the whole world over---and you’d never find, but one-of-a-kind, and that one---is YOU.”
God, Thank You for granting me and those around me--- “The Gift of Life”. Please help us love one another--- despite our differences. Help us look beyond appearances--- and find the beautiful hearts that exist in all your children.