Oh no! I immediately think I forgot to slip on my shoes again and left the house in my slippers! This would not be the first time. I look down, and guess what? To my surprise, no slippers! I was wearing shoes! Yay! However, I can't say there is anything quite amazing about my simple black work shoes. So while perplexed at this strange encounter, I simply look up and give a 'thank you'. I hear right back, "You're welcome!" along with a smile.
As I followed the two individuals out of the store (one of which made the comment) I realized by the conversation that the one who spoke to me seemed to have what apparently is called special needs. Just the words, tone, pattern, and expressiveness seem to indicate this. I could go in more depth, but it's pointless to my point (if that makes sense).
This was my third time today being around someone with special needs. Earlier I was privileged to sit and chat for a while with another young man. Perhaps I'm behind the times and there is another term that society likes to label people with, but I do understand the spirit of the term. Certain individuals require more care than others, I get this. I also am very aware that certain individuals have significant conditions that require them to be quite dependant on others for help, I get this. I understand that some conditions are so intensive that it puts a tremendous amount of strain on the individual and family members around them, I get this. However there is such a wide range of conditions and I really think this term makes so many get placed with a label that makes them sound more consuming than giving.
I didn't drive home from the grocery store with a smile pondering the random word of kindness from someone who was lacking something. I drove home from the grocery store with a smile pondering the random word of kindness from someone who had something to offer.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:1-3 ESV)
I didn't encounter someone with special needs, I encountered someone with whom God works through. I experienced untainted care, joy, and love.
I have special needs too ... I need some more of what that person had to offer.