I realize my blogging the past few weeks has been spotty, at best.
In fact, this is my first post this month.
I wish I could give a solid reason why, but ultimately it’s a matter of searching. Searching for what I want to devote the majority of my time and energy to and searching for the best use of my abilities.
I could not, however, allow today to pass without acknowledging it. Because lost in search or not, today remains one of my favorite days in the year.
Today is World Down Syndrome Day. It is a day I hold dear and have written about many times:
I wish I could convince the whole world of the importance of this day, but since I have you here, I’ll start with you.
Music penetrates the soul, of this I am convinced. As I drove Jonathan home today, braving yet another Nor’easter, we both sang unashamedly at the top of our lungs to the Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat* soundtrack. It was one of my favorite songs, A Pharaoh Story, which tells of the unlikely ability Joseph had for telling the meaning of dreams; a talent eventually making him second in command over all of Egypt.
*One of Jon’s go-to ride-along CD’s.
As Jon’s voice cracked, I listened for the thing which has been occurring more and more with him when we sing together.
Emotion. Deep, deep emotion.
Once, having caught him in such a sweet moment, I asked if he was crying and he quickly explained to me, “My eyes are sweating.”
A few months ago, after a friend of Jonathan’s from church passed away suddenly, we were driving and the song, So Long, Farewell, from The Sound of Music came on.
Who would know this song could mean anything more than children begging their parents to let them stay up late? Not me.
As it worked its way towards the end, to the continued goodbye being sung back from the children to adults, Jon stopped singing, and looked out the window. We reached our destination and he quickly went in, found a tissue, and took care of his tears. They wouldn’t stop and, after cautious questioning, he opened up and told me he was missing his friend. I didn’t know this person very well, but in the minutes which ensued I found myself hugging Jon, sobbing with him over his loss, and grasping at explanations on how to say goodbye to those we’ve loved and lost.
There is so much about life which can be learned from someone like Jonathan, yet the thing which I believe separates him most from the rest of us is his love.
Jon loves hard. This becomes ever more evident to me each time I sing with him. Each time he allows his eyes to sweat for someone taken from us too soon. He clings to love. While many of us allow ourselves to get carried away with the stresses of life, easily losing focus on why we do the things we do, and what the point of this whole rat race called life is, Jon’s focus has been unchanged.
*It’s all for love, isn’t it?
I’ve never known anyone else to love others with such shameless and continuous effort as Jon. He embraces the commandment given by Jesus before he went to the cross in John 13:34-35:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
I wonder what our world might look like if more of us got over ourselves and became more like Jonathan. If we not only embraced, but took the time to understand what real love looks like.
It’s loving the beautiful and the ugly, the rich and the poor, the perfect and the broken. It’s loving in unusual places. It’s loving when you don’t want to, when you don’t have the time or when it feels artificial. It’s loving in spite of yourself.
For World Down Syndrome Day, 2018, no matter how grumpy this awful weather has got you, be more like Jonathan and give love.