All About People

31 Aug

“And whose birthday is it today?”  I ask smiling, as I hand Sam* one of the many pills he takes every evening.

His face lights up, bright and open at the thought of friendship.

“Today is Laura’s. She is one of my best, best, BEST friends! I have known her for…”

He stops for a moment, taking the pill, washing it down with a swig of water. He counts awkwardly on his fingers, mumbling the numbers to himself.

“Wow, for 14 years!”

I smile. This is our nightly ritual.

Sam is one of the guys who lives in the group home I work at. He is in his early 30’s and mentally disabled.

There are things he can’t do,  but nothing seems to be lacking in his life. 

Because Sam is all about people.

Just about every day Sam tells me about someone who has a birthday. He is always introducing people, connecting people. Sam never forgets a name or a birthday. He is everyone’s friend, instantly. I am convinced by now he is somehow linked to everyone who has ever lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

Sam walks out of his room at 10:30 pm when I have an hour left of my shift and I am exhausted and ready to go home, to talk.

“Lisa and John just had a baby girl!!!”

He shows me picture from facebook on his phone. He tells me a long story about where he met them and how long he has known them.  He grins the whole time, joy overflowing. He is not watching the clock, not concerned about the things he has to get done. He is not worried about his day tomorrow.

He is simply in the here and now, sharing his friendship.

I try to pay attention to these stories. I don’t always do a good job. My mind wanders. I think about going home and going to sleep. Sometimes the stories sound all the same, just different times, and places and names.

But I know they are not. They are individuals, and  he values them more than anything.

They give his life color and meaning.

I have never heard Sam say anything bad about anyone. He never judges anyone. He isn’t aware or concerned about how “different” someone might be, he isn’t bothered by their looks or abilities or lack thereof.

When meeting someone new he always comments, as soon when they walk out of the room,

“They seem like a really, really, cool person. I am SO glad they are here!”

I have a lot to learn from him.
The world needs more people like Sam

*Name changed.

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2 Responses to “All About People”

  1. Steve August 31, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    It is an effort to stop the tears to write this.. Thank you for writing this Brooke. Thank you for taking the time to notice this most exquisite, marvelous messenger.. This is what Love, Beauty, Grace, Heaven looks like, I am sure. I believe that we are the ones with “special needs.” We “need” so many things in order to feel “special.” Living a self-centered existence is pure misery. This dear man brings news from heaven. Love..

    • BrookeGale August 31, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

      Now you’re making me cry. 🙂 Thank you Steve. It’s a daily beautiful reminder.

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