“I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31: 3
Last week we had the opportunity to host people from Down Syndrome of Louisville here at the Home Office – and I was amazed. The unconditional love that was present in the two individuals who spoke to us was most palpable in the air – every word they spoke resonated with it. They understood love – it was indeed the most evident and noticeable quality they had about them. Life was a wonderful gift to them – it showed in their words, their actions and most of all in their glowing personalities. I was indeed humbled and wished with all my heart I could possess the type of love that they so effortlessly wielded.
There was one moment though which I will never forget for the rest of my life. The staff member from the Society, Diana Merzweiler, said towards the end of the presentation that people with Down Syndrome have been GIFTED with an extra chromosome – and that gift which they received from God gives them an EXTRA measure of love FAR ABOVE what the rest of us have. It is in many ways a gift of something so many of us who do not have it can never really understand.
The hearts they have overflow with goodness and joy and innocent love for all people at the most basic of levels, to the point that it is, quite simply, their nature. They feel all the same normal emotions anyone else does, and they have lives just like everyone else – it is just that their capacity for love has been heightened. She went on to say that maybe this extra chromosome is how humanity SHOULD have been created from the very beginning – it is those of us who do not have it who are the different ones. We worry about so many mundane and unimportant things like ambition, materialism, consumerism that we forget God made us for love – for both Him and for each other.
The next time I encounter someone with Down Syndrome – I have a cousin, as well as the child of another cousin, who have it so I soon will – I am going to try and remember that maybe, just maybe, this is what we are meant to be – people with unconditional love as our most defining characteristic.
Oh God, create in us hearts which love first and unconditionally. Make us closer to your image and your plan for us – to love you and each other in all things first and foremost. Amen.