If you’re from my generation, I’m sure you remember the series from the early ’90s, “Life Goes On.” And if you remember this television series, then you automatically think of Corky Thatcher, the mentally challenged middle child of the Thatcher family, played by Chris Burke. He, in real life, has Down’s Syndrome.
I’m not writing this for personal gain. The chances are that neither Chris Burke nor any of the other cast members or producers will ever read this post, which is only proof that I write strictly from my heart and about what I’ve noticed on many, many occasions throughout my lifetime.
The Mentally and Intellectually disadvantaged have the purest and sweetest of hearts, yet they live in a world that looks down on them. They’re unwanted- shunned, ridiculed, and brutalized. Yet, most of them maintain their smiles and their unconditional kindness. Their moral compasses never waiver. They’re innocent, childlike, and have hearts of the purest gold.
I write books about unsung heroes, who are different and who bullies target daily. But I’ll tell you this:
The courageous, amazing real-life heroes are the best of the human race! I admire their unbreakable will, unshakeable courage, dogged determination, and amazing ability to keep smiles on their faces even under the most challenging of circumstances!
These are the people who have the fortitude to overcome odds that would be overwhelming to a cast majority of people. And I state this with full conviction.
These beautiful souls also work the lowliest of jobs- jobs that most people think are beneath them. They have the best work ethic, are the most dedicated, and have the most pride in their work. Yet, they are the worst treated and devalued by supervisors and coworkers!
These angels have more heart and soul than those who are “normal” and twice their ages.
You have to wonder how they do it. How do the mentally and intellectually disabled find the resolve to go up against such tremendous odds every single day? How do they keep pushing amid jeers, jokes, and cruel insults? Situations under which most “normal” people would’ve thrown in the towel?
Another reason why I salute the mentally and intellectually challenged is that they don’t let on that they even realize it when the rest of the world is showing it’s booty to them. They’re the people who never complain nor seem to feel sorry for themselves like most “normals” do anything life gives them a one-two punch. Yet they’re given the least respect, the most devalued, and the most abused- all because people see them as having the least power of all!
The mentally and intellectually disabled don’t retreat into drugs and alcohol. Instead, they retreat into their work and hobbies. They keep their minds occupied with things that interest them.
I’ve found that these people are also most talented in the arts. Many of them draw and play musical instruments like professionals! Yet, others overlook those talents because of who those talents belong to!
I don’t claim to know for sure, so I can’t speak for all the mentally and intellectually disabled. But through my observations over the years, I’ve come to realize that, maybe, the reason the mentally and intellectually disabled seem to handle adversity with such grace and aplomb is that they’ve accepted it as their normal.
I’m not saying that they don’t get hurt by it because they have feelings too. They have the same desires as everyone else- to be loved and accepted for who they are. We all have the desire to be apart of something and to be included. Humankind is hardwired that way.
But the mentally and intellectually challenged have such a way of bouncing back from years of repeated rejection- back to their cheerful selves much quicker! And they’re much more forgiving!
That’s what makes them such beautiful souls! They’re the brightest and most brilliant lights in a very dark world! And it will go to their credit and be celebrated in The Afterlife!
Therefore, all I can say to the millions of earth angels is this:
Keep up the good fight! Keep being a shining example to the rest of the world! I love you all!
My novel, “Kids Under the Latch Key,” is a first-person narrative about a mentally handicapped young man named Randy and a group of neighborhood kids who take him under their wings and protect him from the cruelty of several people in a small Southern town, who bully and label him because he is different. It is narrated by a now middle-aged Grace, who is one of the kids who befriended Randy and tries to protect him before an unexpected and tragic turn of events intervenes. The tragedy prompts Grace to question God and gives her a new perspective of the world and of people in general.
“Kids Under the Latch Key” by Cherie White