Simple blessings are the things you take for granted in life such as the ability to: move without an aide, walk without stumbling, breathe without needing an oxygen tank, see with both eyes (with or without glasses, contacts or perfect 20/20 vision), hear with both ears without an hearing aide or cochlear implant…and the list goes on! There are so many simple things in life that we all can take for granted because we use them freely each day and it is for these simple blessings today that I am most thankful.
Earlier this morning, I covered an event called the "Special Olympics" for a newspaper. It took place inside an expansive school building equipped with classrooms, a gym, cafeteria and something that you won’t find in most public elementary schools—an indoor pool.
But it wasn’t the grand title of today’s event that made the day special, it was the children. All the beautiful, sweet children who were dealing with so much more than anyone would ever want to face. These kids had all sorts of disabilities—from autism to Down’s Syndrome—and I could see them struggling in their illness yet trying to simply be a kid and enjoy the day’s activities…and my heart broke. My spirit was humbled as I observed the multitude of children gathering in the gym with their adult aides, some in wheel chairs, some barely able to walk, some with helmets on their heads and other special aides…it was heartbreaking in the truest sense and at the same time, humbling because all of my “challenges” and “issues” started to fade in comparison to the plight of these sweet kids, a plight that would last a lifetime.
One of the teachers who works at the school told me that these are kids who people in society often write off saying they can’t do anything but the opposite is true, these kids he told me, can do so much more than you’d think. His words warmed my heart for all teachers who are dedicated to helping special needs children make their way through this world in a dignified and holistic way because that’s exactly what they and any child really needs, someone who believes in them, someone who will be their personal cheerleader encouraging them not to sit on the sidelines of life but to get in the game and enjoy it to the best of their ability.
And here I am, I thought, thinking that I have issues and I have challenges. But here are these kids who deal with more than I could ever imagine or handle and yet they’re not letting it bench them, they’re participating in the Special Olympics games with bright smiles and a winner spirit of perseverance.
If anything, the kids taught me something today and that is to be thankful for my life through and through—from the simple blessings today, to the greatest opportunities I may have tomorrow—I became thankful for it all, ten times over.
A popular pastor/motivational speaker named Nick Vujicic is an example of perseverance and keeping the faith in God. He was born without arms and legs yet he travels around the world speaking to people of all ages/backgrounds/social status and giving hope, inspiring everyone he encounters with his story of overcoming his challenges through his faith that all things work together for the good of those who love God and you will see in this video (shared in my blog post today) that Nick really loves God!