My son works at a local sheltered workshop for the handicapped a couple of days a week. On those days I drive him there, we almost always arrive at the same time as “Miss Stacey.” She is a beautiful woman who has been my son’s friend his whole life. Cerebral Palsy has confined her to a wheel chair. It has twisted her limbs and made it difficult for her to speak. Yet, each time I see her, her soul shines through. There is a light in her eyes that makes you smile. There is a happiness in her grin that warms your heart. There is a love that radiates out from her and touches everyone she meets. In spite of what Cerebral Palsy has done to her body, her spirit burns bright. Each time I talk to her and hold her hand I feel a little bit closer to Heaven.
Stacey has been a beacon of love and joy in my life and in so many others. She has been my son’s friend through grade school, high school, their twenties, and now into their thirties. I can still remember the smiles on their aides’ faces when I would go to pick my boy up after school. In spite of the hard work caring for a special needs child all day they still had such a sense of happiness just by being with them. I can see it too in the faces of those dedicated people who work with Stacey today. It is as if they become better just by being with such a sweet soul.
It really breaks my heart when I think that there was a time when physically and mentally handicapped children were confined to institutions or even killed because they were seen as worthless in our world. In truth, they are the greatest teachers of love we will ever have. They show us that accomplishments mean little in the eyes of God. What matters is how purely and unconditionally we love. What matters is the light we shine from within. I know that Miss Stacy’s shines so bright it is seen from Heaven. I only hope to one day live as lovingly, kindly, and joyfully as she does.