Yesterday it was a great honor to spend our lunch time with some good friends. The occasion was another screening of the Just Like You – Down Syndrome video. Our sweet friend Kim had been wanting to host a viewing in her lovely home. She is a native Arkansan and her Southern hospitality was evident! We invited some friends – some had seen the video. Others had not. There were adults and teenagers and siblings and friends. It was nice. As I sat there, it struck me that Rachel is not just like you but probably not for the obvious reasons.
Rachel has Down syndrome which means she is not “just like” most people. But as it says in Just Like You – Down Syndrome, we are all different. For example, one of my doctors says that my back is symmetrically perfect. It must be unusual and a big deal because he has told Jonathan and me on several occasions. My response: Who knew? Then, there’s Jonathan’s head. According to several barbers he has a perfect head. Again, who knew? You should be careful around us because we have a lot of perfection going on! Just as Rachel has Down syndrome, we all have things that make us different.
What hit me was that how she is really different is in what she does. She accompanies me to speak to classes and groups. When she had just learned to read she would go with me to speak to educators and she would read one of her little “I am Sam” books to the group. It was often entertaining to see how astonished they were by her reading. She started going to the Tennessee Capitol when she was in preschool and meeting legislators. Now, she heads off to Washington DC and she believes that she is best friends with Senator Roberts, Senator Moran and Congressman Kevin Yoder. She does seem to connect with them and their staffs and that pink house has helped. She also thinks that she could call Bill Dance to go fishing with her and it’s no big deal. After all, she was on his show and has been fishing at his house. She told me this week that she wants to do workshops about Down syndrome when she gets older. I told her she already does that. She seems at ease in front of an audience speaking. The majority of Americans cannot say the same.
So no Rachel is not just like most other 14 year old girls. Rachel – thanks for being who you are perfectly created by the hands of God.