My high school buddy from the Stone Age, Doris, sent me a story today. It was written by a guy (no name available) who recalled an experience that stuck with him and changed him forever.
Did the title of this blog draw you in? Stay with me.
The story writer told about the way a young Downs Syndrome man impacted the hearts of all he touched. I was moved by the story – and decided it was too good to keep to myself. I hope it touches your heart, too.
Nicky’s Lesson for Us All
In 1979, I was managing a Wendy’s in Port Richey, Florida. Unlike today, staffing was never a real problem, but I was searching for a someone to work 3 hours a day only at lunch. I went thru all my applications and most were all looking for full time or at least 20 hours per week. I found one however, buried at the bottom of a four inch stack, that was only looking for lunch part time.
His name was Nicky. Hadn’t met him but thought I would give him a call and see if he could stop by for an interview. When I called, he wasn’t in but his mom said she would make sure he would be there. At the appointed time, Nicky walked in. One of those moments when my heart went in my throat. Nicky suffered from Downs Syndrome. His physical appearance was a giveaway and his speech only reinforced the obvious. I was young and very sheltered. Had never interacted on a professional level with a developmentally disabled person. I had no clue what to do, so I went ahead and interviewed him. He was a wonderful young man. Great outlook. Task focused. Excited to be alive. For only reasons God knew at that time, I hired him for 3 hours a day, 3 days a week to run a grill.
I let the staff know what to expect. Predictably the crew made sure I got the message, “No one wants to work with a retard.” To this day I find that word offensive. We had a crew meeting, cleared the air, and prepared for his arrival.
Nicky showed up for work right on time. He was so excited to be working. He stood at the time clock literally shaking with anticipation. He clocked in and started his training. Couldn’t multi-task, but was a machine on the grill.
Now for the fascinating part… Back in that day, there were no computer screens to work from. Every order was called out by the cashier. It required a great deal of concentration on the part of all production staff to get the order right. While Nicky was training during his first shift, the sandwich maker next to him asked the grillman/trainer what was on the next sandwich. Nicky replied, “single, no pickle no onion.” A few minutes later it happened again. It was then that we discovered Nicky had a hidden and valuable skill. He memorized everything he heard! Photographic hearing! WHAT A SKILL SET.
It took 3 days and every sandwich maker requested to work with Nicky. He immediately was accepted by the entire crew. After his shift he would join the rest of his crew family, drinking Coke like it was water! It was then that they discovered another Rainman-esque trait. Nicky was a walking/talking perpetual calendar! With a perpetual calendar as a reference, they would sit for hours asking him what day of the week was December 22, 1847. He never missed. This uncanny trait mesmerized the crew.
His mom would come in at 2 to pick him up. More times than not, the crew would be back there with him hamming it up. As I went to get him from the back, his mom said something I will never forget. “Let him stay there as long as he wants. He has never been accepted anywhere like he has been here.”
I excused myself and dried my eyes, humbled and broken-hearted at the lesson I just learned. Nicky had a profound impact on that store. His presence changed a lot of people. Today I believe with every fiber of my body that Nicky’s hiring was no accident. God’s timing and will are perfect.
This Christmas, I hope we all understand what we are celebrating. We are all like Nicky. We each have our shortcomings. We each have our strong points. But we are all of value. God made us that way and God doesn’t make mistakes. Nicky certainly wasn’t a mistake. He was a valuable gift that I am forever grateful for.
We are celebrating the birth of the ONE that leveled the playing field for all of us. God doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, republican or democrat, or black or white. He doesn’t care if your chromosome structure is perfect. He doesn’t care what level of education you have attained. He cares about your heart. He wants us all to love and appreciate the gift HE gave us on Christmas, His son, the Savior, our salvation. His Son that was born to die for our sins. To pay our debt. To provide us a path for eternity.
So this Christmas, let’s check our hearts. There is a little bit of Nicky in all of us and I suspect there is a Nicky somewhere in your life who is looking for the chance to be embraced. Thank God for that. Thank God for His perfect gift, Christ Jesus.
Another of my high school friends, Kristy, sent me that sketch up there done by a 93-year-old friend of hers, Alice Paschal. What a wonderful rendition of that glorious Christmas Day! Like those two doves, my husband, Bob, and I are sitting in the rafters, peering down on that magical scene – marveling at the love Christ brought down to earth. Grateful for those who share His love in stories, words and actions.
Ready to Learn
May we all be like the workers in that restaurant long ago – ready to learn to love, learn to accept, learn to wrap our arms around the most vulnerable. May we learn to see one another through Jesus glasses, from the inside out.
I first posted this in December of 2020 … and here it is a year later … December of 2021 … and in many ways, we are more engulfed in the effects of COVID-19 now than we were then!
My resolution for 2020 was to “Walk the Talk.” Little did I know when I created those 20/20 Perfect Vision glasses January 1, 2020 what a challenge that would be!
I posted the picture of that little girl in early January, determined to talk less and to do more.
No Way of Knowing
I had no way of knowing when we celebrated the first of five planned Lenten breakfasts leading up to Easter that it would be our last. COVID-19 hit, our gatherings were shut down, and social distancing eliminated these opportunities.
Time to read more, time to think more, time to reflect on stories like the one at the top of this blog.
I asked you, my WP readers, “How will you spend the rest of this 2020 year? What will you do to Walk the Talk and Show the Love of Christ with those you meet?”
I asked you, “Think about it.”
And here it is another year gone by, still dealing with the effects of COVID-19, and still asking the same questions. still making the same requests:
And I still want you to know, “I love you.“ I hope you have avoided the ravages of the virus. I hope you are well, and looking forward to a wonderful Christmas with loved ones.
Thanks for taking time to read JanBeek. I hope it inspires you. Bee well! Bee LOVE.
Embrace Butterflies Yes, it’s so easy to do! Figuratively.
Build a chrysalis – Then sequester for a while. Pop! You’re beautiful!
We all sequestered – We had to during COVID- Now we’re emerging.
Some folks are fearful – Thinking COVID’s not over. Maybe it isn’t.
With the variant Running rampant in places, Some crawled back inside.
Some still wear their masks; Some won’t go to restaurants – Prefer home dining.
Remaining inside Is important for some folks – Others spread their wings.
Like these butterflies, Each situation’s different. So, to each his own!
One of the lessons I learned during this past year and a half or so is that no two people react exactly the same to the same stimulus. We hear through our own filters. We see through our own past experiences. We can’t lay our trip on someone else! We all built our own chrysalis and stayed inside as long as we felt we needed to. Some are inside still. We all will emerge more beautiful in our own sweet time, if we allow our “feelers” to engage with our own needs while respecting the needs of others.
Embrace the butterfly. Fly when you’re ready. See ya in Big Sky!
Reason required to: Reach resilience Rebuild Trust Repair relationships Require responsibility Review daily briefings Reach across aisles Revive compassion Reassure doubters Resist rumors Release resentment Return to mutual respect Reject falsehoods Retain faith Rescind travel ban on Muslims Rejoin Paris Climate Agreement Restore Federal loan repayment pause Renew ban on evictions and foreclosures due to the pandemic Refuse divisiveness Resurrect trust in the press Renew dedication to our constitution Remember to pray Rely on God’s plans for our lives and for this world Reason Required… so, EMBRACE REASON!
God Bless America and God Bless You! See ya tomorrow. Hearty Hugs, JanBeek
Here in Ennis, Montana, we have a group of ladies who love to sew. They call themselves the PieceMakers. Piece by piece, they sewed quilts to send to retired service men and women.
When COVID-19 hit, piece by piece they made masks. I am not sure they still are doing so, because we are being told the hospital-type masks are the only really safe ones … and we are being encouraged to put our other cloth masks away.
Meantime, today’s world causes me to “Embrace Peacemakers” – and pray that we can return to a country of sanity and safety.
Today’s Bible Verse “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
In the name of peace, I invite you to join other “Prayer Warriors” Tuesday night to pray for a peaceful transition of power here in the USA on Wednesday.
It is troublesome to see all the military and the barricades being erected in our nation’s capitol. Troublesome to think that they are necessary in order to preserve the peace and save the lives of our elected leaders who are being threatened.
It will take you to a page that has this image on it – and you can click that you are interested (if you are). If not, be sure to raise your own voice independently to God asking for peace in our nation on January 20th and beyond… or form a prayer group of your own. The threats are real… and very troublesome.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.”
It’s a day when we in the USA Are feeling particularly vulnerable. A day when we ponder the meaning Of the troublesome events of yesterday.
It was a day of Troubled Waters When our fragile democracy Seemed on the brink of collapse, A day some imagined, but not I.
I knew we were a country deeply divided, A country needing a renewed sense of unity, But never did I think our Capitol Would be under siege by our own people.
Not just one of the rioters was killed in the debacle, but 3 health care workers also lost their lives.
In the aftermath, when the Senate and Assembly resumed their stations and continued the task of counting the electoral votes, a new sense of purpose seemed to emerge.
It took an attack on our democracy for our lawmakers to unify and recognize the importance of our constitution. The tone was bipartisan. The future is hopeful.
A ray of hope for the unification of this divided country was launched yesterday.
A seed of collaboration was planted.
Yesterday I posted a meme that read: “We’ve tried hate. We’ve tried wars. We’ve tried destruction. They only caused more pain. Let’s try something different…”
…and the “different” was peace love empowerment collaboration.
Today let’s reinforce that commitment. Let’s try Open and Honest Communication, Building bridges instead of walls, LET’S EMBRACE UNITY!
EMBRACE UNITY! Let’s honor One Nation Under God. One world for us all, One CREATOR of us all.
Back in 1970, Paul Simon was inspired to write the words to the song, “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.” The video below is the story of how that song came to be. The words are just what we need today… A Bridge Over [these] Troubled Waters.
Let’s Embrace UNITY. Let’s see how that turns out!
I hope you took time to hear that You.Tube story. It’s powerful. Believe me, the song is just what we need today.
“When you’re weary Feeling small, When tears are in your eyes I’ll dry them all. I’m on your side. Oh, when times get rough And friends just can’t be found, Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. When you’re down and out When you’re on the street, When evening falls so hard I will comfort you. I’ll take your part. Oh, when darkness comes And pain is all around, Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down… Like a bridge over troubled water I will lay me down. Sail on silver girl Sail on by… More
In today’s Daily Guideposts 2021, the writer, Amy Eddings, wrote about a time when she prayed relentlessly for guidance and courage – and felt her prayers were going unanswered. Have you ever felt that you were praying relentlessly for something and your request(s) seemed to be falling on deaf ears?
I remember last year when Australia was on fire and so many animals were dying and losing their habitats. I prayed along with the rest of our world for rain… but the fires raged on.
I have recently been praying incessantly for our Pastor Nominating Committee at our church. If you have followed my blog for awhile, you have read my sermon notes on Sunday from our Madison Valley Presbyterian Church. You know our pastor of 32 years died a year ago and we have a wonderful temporary pulpit fill who came out of retirement to help us. Rev. Hundley needs to be able to re-retire. So, we are searching for a solo pastor and I am praying hard. I believe in the power of prayer – and I believe in God’s perfect timing. Don’t you?
So, will you add my prayer request to your prayer list? “Lord, help the Madison Valley Presbyterian Church Pastor Nominating Committee find the person God already has in mind for us. Help them find the right new pastor to lead the congregation into renewed spiritual growth in 2021.”
My husband, Bob, has been praying incessantly, too. He is on our church’s leadership board and as such is the “elder” in charge of Buildings and Grounds. Our church owns an old church that is about 10 miles out of Ennis in a tiny little village called McAllister. The church was built in the 1880’s. MVPC uses it once a year to maintain its tax-free status as a “place of worship.” It is in a serene country setting on a little over an acre of land. It has electricity, but no water or septic system. The church is for sale. We’re praying for the right buyer.
Please add this to your prayer list, too, will you? “Lord, send the right buyer to Rikki at Berkshire-Hathaway in Ennis, MT – a person who will treasure this historic building and use it for wholesome purposes.”
When we EMBRACE PRAYER and pray with a right spirit, God hears, God cares, God answers.
Philippians 4:6,7: Pray about everything
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God.”
1 John 5:14: God always hears
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
GOD BLESS YOU and keep you safe and healthy. That’s my prayer for you today.
Thanks for visiting JanBeek. Have a blessed Monday. See ya tomorrow.
This is my favorite prayer… and I pray it fervently. It spells out my purpose in life … to be an instrument of God’s peace… TO SPREAD LOVE, FORGIVENESS, FAITH, HOPE, LIGHT AND JOY…