Sunday, May 2, 2010
I wonder how many lives will be touched by Katie. We are swarmed when I pick her up from school by sweet little girls who want to say "hi" to Katie. The children in our complex are fascinated by Katie. Shayne's son is her favorite "buddy" and is so sweet and tender with her.
People whose lives have been touched by someone with a disability show themselves to be so much more thoughtful, compassionate, and kind than those whose lives are unhindered by the imperfection of life. I believe that people like Katie are some of the most enlightened souls returning to earth in a challenging body to teach us more than we could ever imagine.
I worry more about people who do not get the opportunity to know and love someone with a disability. Things are different today than they were even when I was a child. Mainstreaming in schools and inclusion are much more practiced today than ever before. When I was in elementary school, the special needs children were in a separate wing and I rarely if ever saw any of them. They were a mystery. Even scary or intimidating in their differentness.
But now we have children who visit Katie and read to her, local high school kids who come and spend time with her class... So many more shows address children about people who are differently abled. I find it relatively easy to talk to the other kids about Katie's differences. Maybe even easier than with adults. They have many questions, but the answers can be simpler than when speaking with adults. As one little neighbor girl so easily summed it up, "Some people talk and some people don't." 'Nuf said.
I hope that Katie continues to be surrounded by loving, compassionate people who get to know her. Who will look past the indelicacies of life with a disability and will see the beauty and simplicity within. I hope that Shayne's son will grow up to be a gentle and caring man because of his time with Katie.
I wish everyone could have that chance.