Are You Missing Out?

The Most Interesting People On Earth

Are You Missing OUt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you were a fly on the wall at the grocery store while I was shopping, you would probably see me scan the check out isles for the shortest and fastest line to join. I’m usually in a hurry, trying to fit too many things into too small of a time. But this particular time, my hurry was halted by a missed interaction.

There were two good options for a fast checkout that day.  I choose the line on the right which placed me in line after a person with some visible special needs.

This man, I’ll call Ben, looked to be in his mid-thirties, though he was hunched over his grocery cart like an elderly man would do for support.  He also had trouble talking, like his mouth would not cooperate with his brain and he couldn’t form the words he wanted to say. It didn’t stop him from trying to communicate, though.

He stood in front of the half-sized ’10 items or less’ conveyer belt as he gestured for me to go ahead and put my things on the belt. I couldn’t take him up on his offer because his order hadn’t been rung up. It sat on the belt right where he wanted me to place my items.

“Thank you,” I said to him with a smile, “but I need to wait for your order to move up before I can put my things on the belt.”

He gestured again in his charming way, for me to put my things on the belt. Ben was very polite and gentlemanly, smiling and gesturing with a bow, as though he were a professional butler for a large castle in England.

“Thank you.” I say again. “After your order moves up, I will put my things on.”

Unsatisfied, Ben turns toward the conveyer belt which just started moving. It was finally his turn.

The man standing in line in front of Ben (who was a helper of some sort for him) noticed our conversation and said, “The lady said, “Thank You!” in sign language, and then he told him it was time to go.

They left before I could tell them that I also know sign.  I had no idea the man was hearing impaired!

I felt like I was cheated of a great opportunity. 

I had missed out. 

I had missed out on a chance to connect to someone who is especially interesting.  I wanted to call after them and explain that I know sign language and could I please say hello to Ben. But given the busy environment, crowds and noises, I decided against it.

My strong reaction of disappointment following this lost opportunity caught my attention. I had been thinking a lot about the value of life—all life, no matter how severely disabled or how marvelously gifted.  

Subtle hints (and sometimes not so subtle) of people with special needs being less valued than someone deemed a “productive member of society” permeate our culture, or communities, and sometimes, even our churches.

And it is a great loss. 

People with special needs have an extra dose of interesting mixed into them, but they rarely get spoken too.

They bring great joy to their families and friends, yet they rarely get to share that side of themselves to “outside people”.

 

They rarely get to have meaningful conversations with others, because they are overlooked. Or worse, avoided.

I guess I was so disappointed because to Ben and his helper? I was just like everyone else. And I don’t want to be like that. I failed to break through and let Ben know he was a person worthy of getting to know, and that he was especially interesting because he was made differently in the image of God. Because of this, he reveals different facets of God to everyone he interacts with. 

And.  I . Missed. Out.

We worry about missing so many opportunities—whether for our career, our hobby or interest, or for a trip, a party or event, or even for a sale at the store.

We hoard and gather as if we will never have that chance again.

We overload our schedules trying to do it all, something we can never accomplish so we set ourselves up to do everything poorly.

And all this time we spend hustling around trying to stuff too much into lives to avoid missing out, we actually do miss out on the one thing that really may go away—people. 

We miss out on relationships with each other because of our hurry and worry about missing “more important” opportunities.  We can't have it all. Opportunity costs something.

There is nothing more important than the people set before us.

Relationships are invaluable, precious gifts from God to us. Relationships are important to God—so much so, that He gave his son in order to have a relationship with you and me.

We are the joy that was set before Him at the cross. (Hebrews 12:2)

Coffee Time

(Your turn to share your story in the comments):

When was the last time you connected with a person with special needs?

What especially interesting things did you learn or notice while engaged with a person with special needs?

Do you tend to hurry through life trying to ride every opportunity and miss out on some important ones?

How do you view the value of those with special needs?

If You Give My Kid A Birthday Cake

If You Give

Stevie turned 10 years old last week (how can this be?)!

In all his 10 years, he has never once tasted a birthday cake, but he always wants me to make one for his birthday (and everyone elses, too, because it’s like a “rule” for that to happen).

So I bake him a birthday cake and ask him for all the details he wants—what color, what shape, etc., and I make it for him.

And every year, he doesn’t eat it.

But he does thoroughly enjoy the process and tradition of making a cake, singing Happy Birthday and blowing out the candles.

Right now my 3 year old is a big fan of the “If You Give” books by Laura Numeroff.   These book make me laugh, because they are written in a way that could truly be about my kids…wanting to do things over and over and being so entranced by the power of associations!

This is my mini version of a If You Give book:

 

If You Give My Kid A Birthday Cake

If you give my kid a Birthday cake

He’s going to want to help you bake it.

He’ll ask you for some flour and sugar.

When you give it to him, he’s going to want to dump it in a bowl.

The flour will billow up like a cloud and he will want to feel it.

He’ll stick his hand, and maybe his tongue, in the cloud.

After you are done mixing the batter he’s going to want you to put it in the oven.

He’ll ask you to set the timer.

When it’s done, you will let it cool and he will want you to decorate it.

He will watch but he won’t touch the sticky cake.

When you are finished frosting the cake,

He will want you to put 10 candles on top.

Then he will want you to light them so he can blow them out.

He will want everyone to sing “Happy Birthday” to him!

When it is time to blow out the candles, the flames will turn to smoke.

When he sees the smoke billow up, it will remind him of the flour.

He will ask for some.

And chances are, if you give him some flour…

He’s going to want to bake a cake.

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