Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Over The Hedge

It was 1987, and I was feeling sorry for myself.  I’m pretty sure it was over a girl.  It was almost always over a girl.  All I remember is that I was crying and, like I said, feeling sorry for myself…a LOT.  Back-slumping, eyebrow-furrowing, lip-dropping self-pity.  Until I saw and heard something that changed my life instantly—and unbeknownst to me then—has changed me even up to this day.

I had a lot going for me in Hamburg, Germany, as I was getting a lot of modeling work, was living with great German friends, and was enjoying life in one of the most beautiful cities in Northern Europe.

Funny how a woman can trip all that up.  Or rather, how I can let a woman do that to me.  So I had to get out of the house.  I took a long walk through our residential area.  I wasn’t too familiar with the area yet, but I didn’t care if I got lost.  I didn’t care if I got run over.  (I told you it was a pity party.)

Then it happened. 

Beautiful, high row houses lined the street on the right side.  But I was on the left side, walking along a sidewalk with a high hedge of shrubs next to me to the left.  I heard the whir of BMWs, Mercedes, and Audis.  But I heard another sound.

Laughter.  Cheering.  Happy squeals. 

What IS that?  There must be a beer garden on the other side of the hedge.  It was morning, but since when did that ever stop Germans from enjoying a good liter or two?

But I heard children screaming delight, too, not just adults.  I knew they started their beer young, but this is ridiculous.

I parted the hedges slowly and poked my head through.  Grown ups were hosting outdoor games for a large group of kids and adults with Down syndrome.  The adults were teammates with kids as young as three, it looked like.  The games were simple:  Take a beach ball and toss it in the middle of a hula hoop on the ground…just three feet away.

And they were pulling for each other, boy.  If a child with DS tossed it anywhere near the hula hoop, EVERYONE cheered.  And their adult teammate with DS cheered with them, and high-fived them, nearly to the point of tears.

And that was all it took that day.  I was now in tears too.  But not tears of self-pity.  Tears of shamefulness before the Lord.  How can any problem I have seem significant at all?!  Look at all I had!  Look where I was and what I was doing!  Look at all of the daily blessings that I take for granted so often!

I don’t think I ever cried like I did that day…AFTER I saw those beautiful people with Down syndrome.

And now look at me.  I cry even here, writing this to you, thinking how blessed I am to have two treasures of my own with Down syndrome.  And this is a blessing that I will NEVER take for granted!


  1. Thanks for the transparency Anthony. Regularly, I am amazed at how God uses my boys to teach me his lessons.
    God bless.

  2. Wow - one of those moments where you know that at a specific moment in time - you saw God...thanks for the Witness!



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