Two stories about special needs kids have touched my heart lately. One is awful and broke my heart. The other is beautiful and gave me hope.
The first probably most people heard about, the bitter hateful letter to a Canadian grandmother of an autistic boy. The anonymous letter basically said the child was useless because he wasn't "normal." You can find the text of that letter here.
The second I heard on K-love Christian radio station the other day and it made me tear up as I drove. An anonymous stranger paid for the meal of a North Carolina family whose 8-year-old was having an enormous meltdown in the middle of a restaurant.
The person couldn't possibly have known, but the boy has a severe form of epilepsy and cannot communicate verbally and sometimes the frustration is just too much for him and he melts down. The mother has been told she shouldn't take him in public, but if you have ever had a kid who was "different" or if you know someone who does, then you know sometimes the family desperately wants to do what everyone else does and feel just a little bit normal.
Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. On this day, for this family, it didn't and a kind, wonderful, beautiful soul paid for their meal and wrote this message:
"God only gives special children to special people."
It's the most wonderful pay-it-forward I've ever heard.
This is the sad dichotomy of our society. Love and beauty and kindness, next to hate, fear and imagined superiority. One family was beat down, the other built up.
How can they both exist at the same time in our world?
I will keep these stories in mind when I'm out in the world and encounter something unusual. I will remember that I shouldn't assume anything or take anything for granted; that I can't know the challenges of someone else's life; that I should seek to build up, not tear down; that I should practice understanding and graciousness because Lord knows I need it in return.
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