For the past two years my friend De'Shaun has been trying to get me to on a monthly service initiative with my high school. I was always interested in going, but would make excuses when the time came. However last week I decided to actually go and thus, saw one of the most beautiful scenes in my recent memory.
To be completely honest I was a little nervous, I had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that I would be sharing a meal and spending time in prayer with intellectually disabled people. This was something I had never done in my life before. However, I was also extremely excited because I was told the relationships I would create that day would forever change me.
From the moment I walked into the L'Arche community I felt like a member a family, a rock star even. As soon as I set down our dinner, I was met with a hearty hug from Adam, one of the residents. He told me how excited he was to have me and all my friends over to spend time with him.
We all then sat around the dining room table and enjoyed some great fellowship as well as great food. Our meal was filled with stories, laughs, more stories, and even a few more laughs. There was not a second during that meal where our Core Members or the volunteers did not have a smile on their face.
After dinner was over, we all gathered in the family room, some sitting on couches, some sitting on the floor and we all prayed. We prayed for our families, friends, military, and for the oncoming storm that had been predicted. After we had finished praying two of the core members, Dave and Sean, asked if they could play guitar for us. We of course said yes and the room was filled with excitement. The song they played was not a symphony, not a masterpiece you would hear in Carnegie Hall, but that song they played was the most beautiful song I have ever heard. It was not the music that was so beautiful, it was their smiles and excitement that truly touched my heart.
Later that night as I was reflecting on my experience that day, I thought how amazing it was that these people's parents had decided to have them and instead of abort them to "save themselves trouble." I also pondered the charity their caregivers had and how they could have easily gotten sick of taking care of them and had them legally euthanized. These simple, loving and yet extraordinary people would not have touched my life or the countless other lives they will touch. Their smiles would not have been able to light up a room. There is no doubt in my mind that these people deserve to live, and that the only disability is a bad attitude. Without these beautiful people, our world would not be the same.