A group of neighborhood kids gathered in an open lot. Everyone came to play 'kick ball'. Everyone ... including the girl with perfect imperfections. Not all children would welcome a child touched with special needs ... but this group ... did. Teams were picked ... the little girl was always chosen ... never left out. The team she landed on was allowed an extra out. No one complained. No one made a fuss. They wanted her to be a part of the game.
As I listened to my friend's recount of this childhood memory, tears clogged my throat and perched on my eyelids. This friend and I, we share a special similarity in life. I have a niece with special needs and she ... a sister with special needs. We both know the cruelty this world can deliver. We also know the measure of someones acceptance.
She went on to say that she sometimes runs into one of those neighborhood kids. They're all adults now. She sees them, smiles, calls them by name ... and remembers.
Those kids accepted her sister with all the differences. They allowed an extra out for her. Anything she couldn't do ... didn't matter to them ... didn't change the girl who was their friend.
After we talked, I went back to my office and ... sat there. I couldn't stop thinking about those kids and the acceptance they gave ... freely.
I don't know any of those kids (now adults). I've never met them. But ... I'm thankful for their quiet witness. On an open lot, in the middle of a neighborhood, playing a game of 'kick ball' ... they made a choice that has ministered to my heart ... years later.
We all have differences. Things that somehow hold us back from the ability to do what comes so easily for others. Imagine the acceptance we could give if ... we allow each other an 'extra out'. Make it so the things we (or others) can't do ... don't matter. At the end of the game, all that would matter is ... we were there.
"Sometimes things are allowed to happen so that the quiet power of our Lord to arrange and rearrange events according to His purpose may be shown." Amy Carmichael - Spirit Filled Woman's Devotional Bible