This post is, for me, some of my own medicine - and one that I have wanted to write for some time. I have written some grumpy posts recently, mostly compelling people to stop being grumpy.
From time to time, in among so many people with whom I have a fairly close contact, I become party to the lives of those who may be regarded as having specific difficulties; those people we who regard ourselves as able-bodied and 'normal' feel inclined to feel sympathy for. I am often touching a life lived as I collate memories and meanings so that a meagre token of esteem at a funeral can be compiled.
It seems to me, having made this small collation so often that we are all equally blessed in this life. The simple fact is that for some, that blessing is differently distributed.
I have two examples that emerge first in my mind - two people who suffered with Down's Syndrome. In each case they lived beyond their expected years, although they left this world far too soon. I compare them with some who lives I reflected upon who were otherwise unfettered by such a condition and wound on well beyond the four-score years and ten. Both the people to whom I refer, each with a condition that today would be cause to question the progression of a pregnancy, lived a life that I can only dream of and envy.
Both these wonderful people were loved, and gave more love in return. Both visited the four corners of the world and enjoyed experiences which I can only aspire to. Both knew joy, felt happiness more often than not, and knew the real meaning of living well. No, their blessing was not raise families of their own. In one case, their blessing was not to be able to do some of the mundane things I take for granted like using a tin-opener or drive a car. Their blessing wasn't in high grade qualification or a career offering such status and wealth as would be the joy of many. None of those things was their blessing. Their blessing was in living a life so richly, joyfully, open-mindedly and unreservedly, that the Testimony to their years would need to be as long as the years lived to cover all the experiences.
I saw the picture I have used here somewhere else. Her face and her smile lights me up. I am guessing she is about 18 months old, possibly 2 years. Yes, she will need help with many things and many others will be beyond her. But I am sure that when the chips are down, the world that mourns her eventual passing will feel more pain than any who will mourn mine or the Chief Executives of some of our greatest corporations because this face seems to me a brighter light. The smile you see at the top of this page is her blessing. It will mirror her heart and she will (and already will be) radiating such light and warmth that we have to question whether some people are sent directly from Heaven.