My tribe is not the rich and famous
But the poor and challenged
My people are not the up and comers
But the down and outers
The hurt and hurting, lost and confused
Confessing instead of posturing or pretending
Comfortable with their failings; no image to protect
Here is my tribe, my place, the home I claim
With legions of servant heroes; lights of the world
I wrote this because I’ve recently noticed that my shoulders cease to ache when I sit with patients in a mental health waiting room, or how relaxed I am a Special Olympics event with my nephew, or how much fun I have eating in a restaurant with messy, Autistic, Downs, or otherwise challenged adults who are just happy to be there.
Alan Rabinowitz had such a severe speech handicap that he couldn’t speak. After spending years in classes for disturbed children and unable to speak one fluent sentence out loud to another human being, Alan became the voice for animals. He is now CEO of Panthera.
Daniel Tammet, unable to interact with others normally due to Autism became a brilliant mathematician and taught the world about seeing the world through colors and numbers.
Temple Grandin suffered from severe Autism and has now influenced a major shift in the way animals are treated in the meat processing industry.
We can reject, bully, pity, disown, or avoid people who are not like us (and those things about ourselves that are different) or we can discover and honor the value of the gift.