I've been thinking a lot about community, lately. Our Buddy Walk for Down syndrome is coming up in a month. I really want to have a big team. I have visions of a mass of Simeon's Sidekicks all in matching t-shirts smiling and enjoying the day together. I was very disappointed when I learned of a few scheduling conflicts that day which could (and probably will) impact the size of our team...like, over-the-top disappointed.
I had to do some soul-searching to figure out why this is so important to me. There is the usual (and acceptable) desire to expose more people to the beauty of Down syndrome. There's the desire to get more people to advocate for our kids. And then there is the desire to have more people enter our world, to really see what our life has come to be about.
I have to be honest with myself and admit that part of it is this intense need to have Eon be beyond accepted and actually celebrated...to be seen and known for who he really is. I'm sure there is a selfish need for me to be accepted, too.
But, I want to go back to my "have more people enter our world" reason. Our world. I want to invite people into our world, but I realize that I am very reluctant to enter theirs. Other people in our circle have walks for things that are important to them, but I never make an effort to participate. They have children with various diagnoses that I have never bothered to learn much about. Their kids are involved in all kinds of activities that I've never shown an interest in.
My friend, Nicki, is my new hero. She brought her kids to the Buddy Walk with us last year (When we totally misnamed our team, Simeon's Trailblazers, only to be so far behind we had to take a shortcut to catch up). This year, she was asking me when the Buddy Walk was a few months ago to make sure she got it on her calendar and now, she has her own fundraising page for it. I have been tremendously blessed and humbled by her enthusiasm.
Nicki has a huge sense of community that I am lacking. When the youth at church have any kind of game or performance, she makes an effort to be there. This inclination to look beyond "her world" has really caught my attention. What better way to foster community than to go beyond inviting people to join my world and attempt to join theirs, too?
I'm learning much from her. The other day on facebook, a mutual friend posted that her young son didn't get the part in the Christmas play he wanted and was disappointed, even though he still got a part. My thought was, "Oh, bummer." Nicki responded, "When and where? Because our family would love to be there." Because of her inspiration, I echoed the sentiment and am looking forward to it.
I do hope people will join our team. I'm sure it will be a great day! But I am also looking for ways to enter the world of those around me.