Same Kind of Different

“…For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28

I’ve always had a deep love for discovering differences in others. Back in preschool, I took one ballet class before I discovered the soccer field. There was another girl in my class who I quickly befriended. Let’s call her Ann.

I barely remember this class at all, but my mom says she will never forget. Naturally, since I was becoming close friends with Ann, I asked my mom if she could come over to play at our house. My mom was delighted I was making friends. She just wanted me to understand that Ann was a bit different. Ann had Down syndrome. I quickly brushed off my mother and said, “I don’t care! I just want to play.”

A year and a half later, my twin brothers, Shep and J.P., were born. J.P. also has Down syndrome. J.P. had to have open-heart surgery and stay in the hospital for a few months, so I was told I was not allowed to hold him. It seemed unfair: I got to play dress up and feed his twin, but J.P. was off-limits. One day in the hospital, when Mom turned her back, I scrubbed my hands with warm water and soap until I had sang all of my ABC’s. I was going to hold J.P.

I got a hospital blanket and put it over my shoulder, went to J.P.’s crib, and scooped him up. Mom turned around and almost had a heart attack that her four-year-old daughter was sitting in a rocking chair holding her fragile baby. But that moment showed her that I could see through his differences.

I was going to be a sister to both brothers. I would love them unconditionally no matter what made them unique. I might not have known at the time what life with a disabled brother would entail, but I knew I could take it on.

Christ tells us that we are all one in Him. No difference or disability can separate us from being a community of His children. This gives us all the more reason to reach out to those who are different.

There are so many diverse ways to see the world and to understand God. Stepping out to see from a new perspective will give you a fresh view on things.

Also, giving love to everyone, no matter how different they are, is what God calls us to do. It doesn’t matter if someone has an extra chromosome or a different skin color or they are from a different country than you, both of you are children of God. He gives us the opportunity to live in community with people of all backgrounds. He provides a rich amount of ideas and personalities.

It’s exciting for us to get to encounter these people. I encourage you to take opportunities to converse with new people. Branch out to meet someone who is different from you. You never know what relationships you may find.

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