There’s a young disabled kid at my church. I’ll call her V. She’s Mexican, has glorious long hair (often braided) and big brown eyes that dominate her face. She also has microcephaly (small head) and an intellectual disability, and needs extensive daily support. She is nonverbal and uses a wheelchair that’s often pushed by her parents. Her needs are such that her family can’t get out very often, but they always come to church on Easter.
I saw she was chewing on a lanyard after Easter Mass, so I sat on the step to be eye level with her and put my Dulcimer in my mouth. I told V her dress was so pretty and didn’t get a visible reaction (as I expected.)
V clapped. And kept clapping. I started to clap at her rhythm. She clapped twice. I clapped twice. She clapped once, I clapped once. She flailed around in her chair and clapped real fast, so I flapped my hands and clapped really fast.
Then I clapped 3 times. She laughed and clapped 3 times and looked at me through the tops of her eyes like “bring it”. I laughed because she was challenging me. I clapped 3 times. She laughed. I laughed. We went back and forth having this clap-off for 5 minutes or so until we were both cracking up too much to keep a rhythm.
V’s parents acted so surprised and said they never saw V light up like that. I wasn’t surprised. V and I were having a nonverbal conversation made of rhythm and emotion. I told them such and suggested they try what I did if she starts clapping and see what happens.
I feel like neurotypicals just don’t know how to connect to people whose communications aren’t expressed in ways they’re used to.
Our culture has bred consumers and addicts. We eat too much, buy too much, and want too much. We set ourselves on the fruitless mission of filling the gaping hole within us with material things. Blindly, we consume more and more, believing we are hungry for more food, status, or money, yet really we are hungry for connection.
The Love Mindset: An Unconventional Guide to Healing and Happiness
If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.
“C’mon Dodge,” Chris smiled as he watched the happy dog bouncing in the snow, eating little chunks and hopping into the piles that were along the plowed sidewalks. “Bubba, c’mere bud.”
Dodger came bounding over and gave his fur a good shake, spraying snow all around, causing little flakes to get stuck on Chris’ dark puffy jacket and in his beard. Chris just laughed before running a hand over his beard to rid himself of the cold flakes and then patted Dodger’s head as the pair walked the rest of the way from the car to the familiar apartment building.
Chris looked at the door before looking back at the snow Dodger was trying to eat and got an idea. He walked over and bent down, packing some snow into a ball and throwing it up to hit a specific window on the third floor. He watched it splatter before dripping down the window but didn’t get a response so he packed another and tossed it up.
Right at that moment, the window opened and he saw the snowball fly right inside. Mia looked at the splattered snow on her floor before back out the window and saw Chris standing down on the sidewalk with Dodger digging in the snow.
“I should have known it was you trying to vandalize my apartment,” Mia had an amused grin on her lips as she leaned against the windowsill and looked down at him.
What makes you think that two humans can’t take down their masks and uncover their souls, completely bare? That two people can’t cry, releasing all of the pain they’ve been enduring from the touch of a song in their ears. That a song can’t go deeper, under your skin, touching your soul. Giving you a sense of relief like you are finally home. And you’re so happy love should be pouring out of you, but instead it’s still tears. You can’t explain it, but maybe the tears are making room for the happiness. Maybe the tears are helping you wash away all the pain you’ve been through. Maybe these tears are washing away everything you are not. And maybe when you wipe your eyes, you will finally see yourself.
“Well well well, look what the cat drug in,” Mia teased when she opened the door to her apartment. “An aging supersoldier.”
“Ha ha, very funny,” Chris rolled his eyes at her before Mia turned and walked into her apartment with him right behind her.
Chris closed the door and looked around the loft style apartment and couldn’t help but smile to himself. He’d been in Atlanta for the past month doing reshoots for Endgame but he swore that Mia’s apartment hadn’t changed one bit since he had last been here. The pile of laundry was still on the chair, her coffee table was completely covered in sketches, paint tubes, references photos and empty cups of water. Her messiness and disorganization was comical but he found it almost somewhat… endearing.
“You are looking very Steve Rogers-ish without your beard,” She told him.
The Evans house was filled with joyful noise on the cold, snowy Christmas morning. There was soft Christmas music playing in the background that could barely be heard over the squealing of the children playing with their new toys, the lively chatter of the adults and the crunching of the ripped paper that was laying on the floor that now had become Dodger’s entertainment.
Mia sat on the floor next to Stella, helping her free one of her new Barbie’s from the plastic while Chris was busy putting the beautiful portrait Mia had painted him of Dodger up on a shelf where it wouldn’t get bumped. He then went over and joined Scott who was helping the nephews build a giant lego tower. Shanna and Carly had disappeared with Lisa but came back a moment later announcing, “It’s time for stockings!”
The children cheered and the Evans took turns, giving out the stockings and watched each person open them up. They let the children go first who buzzed over the candy and toys that filled them before Lisa handed out each one to the adults in the room and they all laughed and made comments as they were opened up.
“What is so delicious as a just and firm encounter of two, in a thought, in a feeling? How beautiful, on their approach to this beating heart, the steps and forms of the gifted and the true! The moment we indulge our affections, the earth is metamorphosed; there is no winter, and no night; all tragedies, all ennuis vanish; all duties even; nothing fills the proceeding eternity but the forms all radiant of beloved persons.”
But an honorable relationship, she reminds us, is one in which ‘we are trying, all the time, to extend the possibilities of truth between us…of life between us.’ When we are not able to speak authentically, our relationships spiral downward, as does our sense of integrity and self-regard.
not everybody can get this . balance exists but it can’t be all in one place all at one time it can’t or there would be a big Bang . too much . you run into someone . you connect instantly . and whole . like in each other’s skin deeper heart deeper soul . he hits his thumb hanging pictures across town . you feel it . we tell each other everything first time we ever met like we were waiting all our lives just to catch up . it’s all there . but where is the balance Universal Love and Compassion is a wonderful aspiration . but having this kind of Connection this kind of living inside each other . how do you do it with the whole world how can that possibly happen . even with people you meet not even the whole world . just them . not looking to explode a new Universe . even Buddha didn’t do that .
Maybe someone remembers this painting which had the title I LOVE YOU - OH OH, OH NO, telling about the fear of I love you’s. I decided to take this canvas and write key words on it, which move me deeply - and to have a completely weird painting at the end if this year.
So, the key word which does not get out of my head right now is CONNECTION.
CONNECTION destroys the whole composition of this painting now- but we will see the final result at the end of this year.