3/21. March 21st. Every year this day signifies the recognition of all of the amazing people who live in the world that just so happen to have an extra chromosome in their DNA. It's called Down Syndrome. Through no fault of their own, they are born with a genetic abnormality which can make it difficult to process information as quickly as the 'typical' or 'average' person could. So what? It's no big deal. But, it is. This developmental disability also comes with a physical element to it which can be seen as different. And, at certain times in a person's life, it can be challenging to hear people say things about the way your face looks or how Johnny or Susie is 'slow'. Yet, the overall positive and loving nature shown from an individual with Down Syndrome to anyone else is usually amazing, inspirational, and unbelievably self-less.
From my time in the human services field serving and supporting individuals who have developmental disabilities and beyond, I've crossed paths with a few folks who happen to have this type of developmental disability. I've been the recipient of many hugs which drag out for way more than the societal norm for giving someone a hug in public...and I wouldn't have it any other way. I've been told that, 'you are my best friend' after having only spent only 5 minutes with someone I just met...and I wouldn't have it any other way. I've written and sung some of the most powerful songs I've ever written and sung in my 20 years as a musician in their presence...and I wouldn't have it any other way.
They are so in the moment, and care only about what's happening right here, right now...not what is happening on social media or what might happen 20 years from now. They don't care about what kind of phone you have. They have taught me more about compassion, empathy, understanding, patience, and love than I believe I ever could have learned outside of this field. I feel that whenever I'm around these individuals, my day is immediately brighter and happier. In essence, they have made me a better overall person.
There's a sense of true, unconditional, pure love that just pours out and will not be ignored. I just feel good when I'm around them. I don't know about you, but when something is this positive, it makes me want to bottle the feeling up for when I'm having an off day as a reminder that there is still so much beauty and wonderful people in the world. It can be easy to forget this with everything that can and will be thrown our way on any given day. The traffic we have to sit in on the way to work. The fact that our 2 year old had a temper tantrum in front of the entire pre-school. The unfair boss who wants you to work on the weekend but won't pay you any extra to do so. The guy on the road who just cut you off on the way to Church. These things in life can turn into stressors and anxieties, which can literally and metaphorically weigh us down, hardening our hearts and souls. If we don't stop to appreciate the little things and all the great people we have in our lives, then it can easily lead to a dark, depressing, and overwhelming place very quickly. Those with Down Syndrome are the complete opposite bringing light, happiness, love, and peace to any conversation and situation.
It is fitting that the second full day of Spring would pay tribute to and honor those with Down Syndrome. Let this wonderful start to a new season bloom into an amazing array of Faith, Hope, and Love:
1. Faith, that all will work out the way it's supposed to in the end;
2. Hope, that there will not only be a better today but a better tomorrow and for many years to come; and,
3. Love, that the world will collectively come to an understanding and fully embrace each others differences.
The moment we are able to blend all 3 characteristics into one is the moment the world will finally be at peace.
So, if you meet someone new in your travels today (and every day, for that matter) with or without a developmental disability, or even see someone you have before, be kind. Practice the golden rule. Be kinder than you have to whenever possible. Here's a little secret: it's always possible!
Just like an extra chromosome-it's always possible.
Happy World Down Syndrome Day :)
About the Creator
My mission is to write inspirational stories that make you feel good about yourself, put a smile on your face, and think of things in a different way.
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