Saturday, January 12, 2008

Brent Martin

Have you ever changed check-out lines at the grocery store when you noticed that the person bagging your items had a disability. Maybe it was because you were in a hurry, and you knew they would take a little more time bagging your groceries? Or maybe you just weren't sure why, but you did anyways. It saddens me to admit that before Antalya was born, I had done this on several occasions.

At our local grocery store there are two baggers with disabilities. Now when I go there, if I happen to get one of them as my bagger, I feel blessed. Blessed that my life could be touched by theirs, however small the moment is; touched by their gentle nature, their strong work ethic, and positive attitude they both portray. I think of their mothers, and how pleased they must be that their child is able to work and support themselves; pleased that their child has accomplished so much; pleased that they have had the opportunity to raise that child to an adult.

This morning I read about a tragedy that occured in the UK back in August. I feel outraged that such a thing as this could happen. To read about Brent Martin go to Chewing the Fat or click here to read the BBC report .

I know that changing the way our children think about people with disabilities must begin with us. I urge all of us to be more kind and compassionate. To teach our children to rejoice in differences - whether those differences be racial, ethnic, religious, or individuals that are just "different" than the way we are. I think as a whole we have come a long ways in equality, but the disabled community still has a long ways to go. Lets work together to educate ourselves and our children so atrocities such as this won't occur in the world our children are creating. For some great ideas visit the blog entry about Brent at Praying for Parker.


Sonja said...

Oh Sunny, Thank you so much for writing this post. It is very much needed. I was deeply, deeply saddend by Brent's story. It's just so hard to believe that something like this can happen today. It makes me think, as a society, we don't see the value in each human life like we should. What can we do? What can I do? I want to change the world in a day. So badly. But then I'm reminded by beautiful examples like you, that we start by changing ourselves. Then we can influence our children. We can change the little world around us and who's to say how far reaching the effects can be.

Jan said...

Sunny, I was so upset after reading the article about Brent that I called dad in here and tearfully read it to him, too. How it makes my heart hurt that someone as pure hearted as this young man(he didn't even lift a finger to fight back) can be so brutalized. I have always had a tender spot in my heart for those with disabilities. I think part of it was the love and acceptance I learned from my mom. She had a huge heart and always taught me to watch out for those who might be treated unkindly by others. I look forward to the day you all can have the chance to know her. Yesterday, when I went to lunch with Lynda, I met the mother of a 17 yo girl with DS who lives in American Fork. She told me that as far as she knows, "no one" has ever treated her little girl unkindly. I pray that none of my grandchildren are ever emotionally abused (or physically hurt) by anyone else. But especially I pray for kindness to be shown to Grant and Antalya. They will always have a sweeter heart than the rest of us. I feel that our family has been so blessed to know and love them and that they can teach us so much. May love and kindness be the only response they ever experience and the only way any of us react to those with a bigger portion of innocence than the rest of us. They are a huge blessing to our family!!!!!!!

Lisa (Espanish for "Lisa") said...

What a beautiful post. I actually had one of those checkers today and I thought a lot about her after I left. While my girls' genetic condition likely won't "disable" them in doing daily tasks, I often wonder how they'll be seen and treated by others. I feel like I am just barely learning how to be understanding of others' challenges, whether they be so-called disabilities or other differences. I am grateful for how my daughters just seem to love and reach out to everyone, and how they teach me. And I'm grateful for thoughtful insights, like yours, that broaden my understanding and compassion.

My heart aches for the Martin family, and I can only hope that this tragedy doesn't become further so by people not learning from it and being more compassionate to everyone they meet, regardless of who they are.