Do you have a Michael in your life? Perhaps he or she is not plagued with muscular dystrophy, but is disabled in some other way. I have come to believe these people are a gift from God to us, but so often we don't recognize that. We do not know how to relate or how to help and we feel awkward around them. But we can learn. We can take the time to listen, to extend eye contact, to slow down and sit a while with that person. We can learn to love.
Michael wrote a prayer before he died, and I think it is worthy of a slow read. I offer it here in his memory, but also with the hope that it will increase sensitivity to those special people in our lives who are placed there by God to call forth our human compassion and understanding.
Lord God, Father and Creator of us all, You made us male and female, so-called normal as well as disabled. We are all Your children and fearfully and wonderfully made. Lord, why do so many normal people look at me and not actually see me?
So many people have their eyes on my disability or their own feelings of sadness and fear, they can't see the person I am. I can sense their discomfort because they don't know where to look, what to say, or how to act around me. Instead of talking directly to me, they talk to my parents as if I wasn't there or as if I need an interpreter.
Some who do talk to me, speak in a loud voice as if I were hard of hearing or they explain something to me as if I were unable to understand. Others seem so preoccupied with their own lives, it is impossible to express my thoughts and feelings to them, or they seem too impatient to listen and hear me with my slow, measured speech.
Sometimes, Lord, I almost ache for an intelligent adult conversation about things that matter to me. I thank You for the gift of "special people" in my life who are interested in me, who I am, and what I have to say. Especially I thank You for the love, understanding, and tender loving care of my devoted family, for truly, they are, "The Wind Beneath My Wings."
Father, help everyone to see me and others like me in a new and different light, give them a spiritual insight, a kind of vision of the heart, that looks beyond the physical appearance to the real person. Help us to see we are more alike than we are different. We all have much the same life experience as far as family, feelings, interests, hopes, and dreams are concerned. Everyone needs to love and be loved for who they are. Help us all to see one another as You see us.
Lord God, I praise and exalt Your holy Name for all Your mighty works. I thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus, to be my Lord and Savior. Through Him, I have the strength and courage to face the heartaches, disappointments, and trials in my life. Thank You for the joy, peace, and contentment I have found in Him. There can be no more "special person" in anyone's life than Him.
In Jesus' Name,
In Loving Memory, Michael Young 1951-2013