Sunday morning I attended a Sunrise Easter service. Sitting in front of me was a family who happened to have a young girl with Down Syndrome. She was probably eight years old – long hair – and wore awesome purple glasses. When it was time to sing, I could hear her off-key voice above my own off-key voice, as she stood and sang with all of her heart. My heart was bursting watching her hands lifted high to the clouds – worshipping – freely. She was uplifting and beautiful – no holding back.
Her image reminded me of the thousands of Special Olympics athletes I have watched compete over the years, who while playing sports fully give of themselves to the moment. It’s like they have been restrained for so long that FINALLY their chance happens which results in a resounding joyful expression of the spirit within each of them.
For people with intellectual disabilities to participate, we must do our part in making opportunities happen for them, so they can live like we do. We must do that for them, because when given the chance to be who they are without restraint, they remind the rest of us how important and freeing it is to go through life that way.