Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kamp for Kids

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up feeling pretty good about yourself? Have you experienced a morning where the conversation you had with someone the night before makes you feel just that much more alive?

That was this morning.

Then I went to the appointment that I nearly forgot last night. Fletcher's camp was putting on a presentation for parents, community leaders and State and local government. Because Fletcher's camp is not your run of the mill summer camp. At Kamp for Kids in Westfield you'll find kids and young adults, some with disabilities, some without. They play together... do crafts... watch movies... spend time in an environment of inclusion.

Fletcher occupies the opposite end of the spectrum from Blythe. Where she is outgoing, he is shy. Where she will speak in front of anyone, he has a deadly case of stage fright.

But where Fletcher shines is one on one and in his refusal to see people as different. He is perhaps the most empathetic child I have ever seen. When the camp was described to me it was my understanding that he would assist one or more of the kids with disabilities. But when I asked him about it, he looked at me like I was nuts.

"We just all play together," he said.

And there it is.

In his mind it was a place to be with other kids. They are kids that are at once different and the same as him. They are children with disabilities that he would help just like he picked up the kids on opposing soccer teams when they fell down.

To Fletcher, the color of one's skin is as irrelevant as their preference of ice cream flavor. A wheelchair is just one of those things that some kids need to get around. He makes me proud of myself and Britton.

The kids put on their skits. They acted out short performances based on some of the movies that they watched in the last two weeks. And as Fletcher more or less hid behind the sign that he'd created for his group, I thought how brave he was for getting up there. Because even though it terrified him, he wanted to be a part of this thing. He wanted to be up there with his new friends.

And I realized that I will never be as good a person as he is right now. But I can live with that... He sets the bar pretty high.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Simplicity of design

There is a certain satisfaction in it.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Billy Collins

The boy at the far end of the train car
kept looking behind him
as if he were afraid or expecting someone

and then she appeared in the glass door
of the forward car and he rose
and opened the door and let her in

and she entered the car carrying
a large black case
in the unmistakable shape of a cello.

She looked like an angel with a high forehead
and somber eyes and her hair
was tied up behind her neck with a black bow.

And because of all that,
he seemed a little awkward
in his happiness to see her,

whereas she was simply there,
perfectly existing as a creature
with a soft face who played the cello.

And the reason I am writing this
on the back of a manila envelope
now that they have left the train together

is to tell you that when she turned
to lift the large, delicate cello
onto the overhead rack,

I saw him looking up at her
and what she was doing
the way the eyes of saints are painted

when they are looking up at God
when he is doing something remarkable,
something that identifies him as God.

Billy Collins