I ran into a couple of guys with intellectual disabilities yesterday afternoon at the mall. I was there doing a lap around the upper and lower portions, it's a distance of about 1.6K. I had decided to go because I ate way too much at a potluck meeting and decided to try and wrestle some of those little savoury pastries to the ground. I saw them just as I was finishing the bottom portion and slowed to a stop.
They were busy looking at something on display and it took a few seconds for them to realize that I was there. They both shook hands with me and their staff introduced herself to me. It was all very pleasant but ...
Well, let's back up. One of the fellows is someone I've known for a while and whenever he saw me he always lit up and wanted to stand and talk. Mostly this was good but sometimes I was busy and listened more out of politeness rather than interest. This is NOT about disability, the same can be true for anyone. Have to say though that his excitement at seeing me left a really pleasant feeling after we parted.
Let's go back to but ..
But this time, it was clear that I was interrupting what he was doing and that he was busy and he was listening out of politeness not interest. The shoe, metaphorically because I don't wear shoes, was on the other foot. His life and his friends and his day was important to him and I was like the person who doesn't stop talking when everyone around really wants him to ... yikes.
I love how as people become part of their own lives ... I believe that people have to integrate into their own lives and their own personality and their own hearts before integration and inclusion can happen anywhere else ... people like me become less important.
I was less important.
My attention didn't matter as much.
Hallelujah that's what we're supposed to be aiming for - and damn and blast, sometimes we succeed.