I’ve just returned from an amazing Christmas party. Amazing mostly in what it reminded me about life, human nature and God.
Jennifer has the most infectious laugh. Though short and rotund, she doesn’t care that her hips would look better in looser fitting pants. Jennifer loves the colour red.
She’s also fond of yellow, and teamed her red ski pants with a banana coloured top. It wasn’t until Big Eddy told her she looked like a bowl of strawberry jelly and custard that anyone particularly noticed.
And then she began to laugh… and laugh… and laugh…
Before long the party goers on the opposite table joined in the merriment, closely followed by the one behind. Nobody was sure what the joke was, but no-one ever remains po-faced when Jennifer throws back her head, clasps her hands and cackles like a drunken goose.
The disco lights flashed around the walls and ceiling as the seasonal dance music reverberated around the large function room. Steven, a man born to perform, stood on stage beside Joe, the hired disc jockey. Joe read out the label to Steven, who then took the microphone, and with grand aplomb and ceremony announced the next song.
“So here it is, Merry Christmas, everybody’s having fun…” Steven’s singing was monotone and the microphone in imminent danger of being ingested. Nobody batted an eye-lid.
The carers sprang into action and pushed wheelchair users onto the dance floor to the glee of the occupants. Wheelies and high spirited prancing and cavorting produced delighted squeals and yards of drool.
Eventually the music stopped. Kevin, the Director of Choice Adult Care Support, had an announcement to make.
“Ladies and gentlemen,” he began. “It’s great to see you all, and in such festive mood. Soon, a very special person will be paying us a visit. Can anyone guess who it is?”
The excitement was infectious and rippled around the gathering, lighting up faces and generating sparkle in lacklustre eyes. Tiny Tilly struggled to control her bladder, whilst Raymond punched his head repeatedly.
The exuberance and energy of the moment failed to stir the waiting-on staff. Their stony, unsmiling faces said it all. Obviously accustomed to serving at office parties and more conventional events, they shot indiscreet and disparaging glances at one another.
When the music recommenced, Steven, blown away by the exhilaration of his celebrity status took it one step beyond.
“C’mon everybody, let’s see you all on the dance floor. Hey, you guys guarding the trifle, feel free to join in. You look so flipping miserable!”
There was a brief silence before the carers lost the will to stifle giggles and howled and fell about in hysterics. Steven’s ego was on a roll. He began to clap rhythmically.
“C’mon dance; C’mon sing. SMILE! It’s Christma-a-a-s!” He fell thoughtfully silent for a moment.
“What’s the problem?” After careful consideration he bluntly shared his observations.
“None of you are normal, are you?”
Oh what a clanger; a real faux pas in view of the status quo. I wanted to climb onto the table and clap and cheer and demand an encore.
Later, I drove home through the city centre; I was forced to brake as drunken revellers, fists flying, spilled onto the road. I saw young, barely clad women staggering, arms linked, from bar to nightclub to oblivion. Following behind, stalking their prey, male hopefuls loudly proclaimed their prowess.
The contrast struck a chord with me. I thought back to those delightful souls, clamouring for Santa. I saw magic in each one’s eyes as they accepted a parcel, lovingly wrapped in sparkly foil and topped with a crimson bow. Each gift had the personal touch of the recipient’s name written on the label.
I smiled at Josh, eagerly ripping open his gift and graciously declaring, “Thank you Jesus, and Happy Birthday!”
These vulnerable adults displayed the unsophistication and trust of children. They had no issues with pride. They did not judge others faults and flaws. They were simply, without pretence, the people God made them to be.
Acceptance and integration is what they crave and value most. But those words are not included in their limited vocabulary, because unlike others, their developmental days ceased far short of maturity.
And regarding the sour faced waiting-on staff that chose to be judgemental around Learning Disability, how sad for them.
But no worries, God loves them. And everyone was far too busy having fun to care about stuffy party poopers. We say, “Bring it on!”
*Whilst this is a fictional story, the majority of it is based on factual events and people.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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