Our suffering not only gives us opportunity to find our greatest selves, it gives good the opportunity to find us. However for this to happen, we must embrace our inevitable difficult times.
Today at the YMCA, I received my greatest gift of 2014 from this mentally challenged young lady, who I see quite often. I saw her for the first time last year, when I caught her staring at me, noticing my obvious limp. I looked back at her and smiled vividly and lovingly. However, the reaction I got almost knocked me off my feet. My beaming ‘I love you’ smile must have caught her by surprise; for she quickly whipped her whole body around, with a look of tearful horror on her face! I felt compassion, and gently walked away with the same smile plastered on my face. Perhaps it was because of my own disability that I understood her, without really knowing what I was understanding.
Since that day, every time I saw her, I would smile at her as though we were friends. Over time, the look of horror turned to a look of puzzlement to a look of blank interest. Today, I smiled at her again and was greeted with the most brilliant wonderful smile! She was glad to see me!
If I had not gone through my own suffering, I would not have done what I did to get that wonderful blessing from that girl. I would not have been the vehicle to help her find the faith that caused her to express a knowing and confidence in the spirit of love that I was offering.
This year, I hope your inevitable times of suffering tremendously increases your love, understanding and compassion for those who are differently-abled. May you be blessed.