Sunday, March 15, 2015


Last night I had a really vivid dream. I was sitting in a coffee shop or something similar, waiting for an amateur night to start. It was a special night for people with spina bifida to get up and share their short stories, poetry, music, whatever. The first person to stand up was a young lady who started to read us a story of her life. One of the things she mentioned in passing as she read her story was that she still lived at home with her parents. From that point on I couldn't hear anything else. Her voice was drowned out by all the people around me commenting:

'Did she just say she lives with her parents still?!'
'She shouldn't still be living at home!'
'She should be moving out, living her life!'
'What is she thinking?!'

In the dream I was looking around at all the people talking around me, no one listening anymore to the girl, all lost in their own judgments on what she said.

Then I woke up.

I spent a long time pondering what the dream could mean. One of the strongest things that came out in my own mind was that as soon as she had said one seemingly innocent comment, everyone stopped listening. No one was listening. People were so caught up in their own thoughts and critiques about one minor point that no one was listening.

How often do we do that? Do I do that? One thing gets us up on our soapbox and away from people, and we start talking and stop listening.

Her point had nothing to do with living with her parents, it was a side-note, a simple nothing, but people grasped it and would not put it down again. In their minds that was the whole point and that one thing summed up who the girl was and what her worth was and nothing else mattered.

I see this quite a bit in social media. So many of us get ahold of our pet topics of contention and we cannot let it go and we blow up even the simplest, smallest statement as a personal attack.

And then again, we love to assign negative intent on everyone and everything that we don't take the time to understand. Considering my dream, I thought about the number of times people have said rude or nasty things to someone about having a parking permit for special needs parking spaces or made judgment calls about someone based on outward appearance without ever taking the time to understand any part of the person's circumstances or life.

It is so important to gain understanding, to clarify, to LISTEN. Take some time to really listen today. We may just be amazed at how our stance may change just by opening up our ears a little more and our mouths a little less.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Day In The Life- What Living With Down Syndrome Looks Like

The joy that is radiating off Asher's face in this picture is the perfect illustration of what it is like to live with a child who has Down syndrome on a daily basis. Yes, he absolutely has bad days, yes, he gets frustrated and angry sometimes, yes, he is human but he exudes a joy that spreads to every person he comes in contact with. From the people in the grocery store who are greeted in every aisle with a wave and a 'hello' to the children in the waiting room at the therapy office who are blown a kiss as they head on their way to an entire church who is offered his hand to shake as they exit the sanctuary to his family smothered in hugs and kisses it is impossible to spend five minutes with him and not feel uplifted.

There is so much more to life than financial gain or academic success. Asher teaches all of us that a life can enrich so many just by existing, just by being a part of the world around them. Our society can have such a narrow view of what is important or what matters, expand it a bit and get to really see and know those who have much more to offer than the puny list of import we've been taught.