I have been thinking a lot about living in the world today…you know when things go right how beautiful the world can be…life can be…the beauty of creation.

But what about when things are just not quite right?  I posted last week about a mentally ill gentleman that was behaving threateningly at my son’s preschool.  This morning I read an email about a boy that was physically disabled by birth defects and how he was able to play in a baseball game.  I had read this before but it touched me in a different way today.

I grew up in a rural area in the mountains of southwest Virginia…everybody knew everybody…all the families, all the kids,  rarely did you meet a stranger and then usually that stranger turned out to be somebody’s cousin.  We were not immune to people with special needs we just went on and did what was necessary to make everything work and that was that.

There was a family that had a son who was what we called then retarded (now severely emotionally and mentally delayed).  He came to every softball game his church played and they always made time for him to bat and run the bases.  You have never see such joy as that boy had on his face when he was out there running those bases.

And then there were the brothers…all affected by something chromosomal…their sister was unaffected but never had children for fear of passing on this genetic disorder.  These men were given a small allowance everyday and allowed to go about town unbothered for the most part.  People watched out for them.  Made sure they were safe.

And everybody around town knows Joey.  Joey used to stop by the first apartment hubby monster and I lived in.  He knew that hubby would hang out with him and chat him up and that I always had a basket of chocolates or cookies or something sweet to eat.  Joey has a bicycle that he road all over town running errands for his momma or going to his special classes or running to hang out at the fire department.  He loves fire trucks and firemen and fire stations.  Often the firemen pay him to do odd jobs around the fire departments and they will take him with them when they go to train and let him hold the hose from time to time.  They all know him.  They all look out for him.  They all take an interest in him.

Once some boys from the rough and tumble neighborhood where Joey lives stole his radio from him.  Not the best idea.  One of the firemen…a very large fellow…went up to the neighborhood and retrieved Joey’s property and suggested that no such trouble ever befall Joey again.  As far as I know there hasn’t been a problem since.

The kindness and affection that the people in my hometown give to people with special needs made me oblivious to the trials that such people face in THIS world.  I wish the world could function this way.  A little sheltered, I know.

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