I’ve recently debated cancelling my People magazine subscription as it has deteriorated lately into page after page of self-absorbed “beautiful” people interested in the latest fashion or their most recent self-serving exploits. However, I can strongly recommend the “Heroes Among Us” section as both entertaining, uplifting and heart-warming. This past issue featured a Down’s Syndrome entrepreneur named Tim. At 26 years old, he has opened his own restaurant which now employees over 20 people. He regularly speaks to disabled groups to encourage them to aspire to great goals. Please take a moment to view this short YouTube clip. You will be encouraged.
Here’s the ironic twist: People like Tim don’t need us as much as we need them! We need them to desperately remind us what the world would look like without mentally challenged or disabled people. As he manages his store, he keeps a record on the wall of how many hugs he has handed out. I don’t want to live in a “sanitized” society with no “Tims”. Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, the number of Down’s syndrome births has declined dramatically as a percentage of live births. We call this “progress”.
Ironically, as I flip over the People magazine page there is a news article on the other side about the “tanning mom”. The mom who is so addicted to self-tanning that she even salon-tanned her 5 year old daughter to the point of dangerous burns. The juxtaposition between the two is striking. Tim reminds us of the God-given spark of humanity in all of us. This is the same divine spark that enables all of us to do great things regardless of our start in life. The other story shows a navel-gazing fascination with “me, me, me” that sends us down a scary, weird pathway in pursuit of eternal youth and external perfection. Like the “tanning mom”, by the time we as a society take a long, hard look into the mirror of our souls—we have turned into a parody of ourselves. A parody that can no longer recognize how incredibly leathery, scorched and hideous we have become.
This next YouTube Clip was on the front page of Yahoo News today, May 12th, 2012. It is a fitting tribute for Mother’s Day. Be warned—it will make you weep out loud—but in a good way.
Happy Mother’s Day!