March 21st…is a very significant day in our family. Most importantly, it’s the birthday of our oldest son Blake who recently turned 25. For a year, his birthday was the only event we celebrated that day. And then along came Hope, and March 21st developed another significance. March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day. Why that date? Most people with Down syndrome have the type, Trisomy 21—which means they have 3 copies of the 21st chromosome—thus, 3/21 is the celebration date. So we celebrate Hope and her extra chromosomes and, of course, all the EXTRAordinary qualities that make up who she is.
I called Hope on the phone last Monday and said, Happy World Down Syndrome Day, Hope! And she replied in her spunky, enthusiastic voice, “Thanks! And Happy Down Syndrome Day to you too!” It is a happy day, and I love her enthusiasm about who she is! Down syndrome is not a negative thing for Hope. In fact, she would credit having Down syndrome with one of the reasons that she has become ”famous.” (Love that confidence!) Down syndrome has been her ticket to many great opportunities in her life.
Hope has this glowing light (I call it her Down syndrome light) that radiates when she walks into a room. What she doesn’t realize is that her glow is educating people everywhere she goes. She is teaching them to dream, to have high expectations, to persevere, and to love life. God is using her life to impact others—just like he uses all of us if we seize the opportunities.
Sometimes I forget how far she has come since those early years of her life—how far we’ve all come. So 3/21 is a nice day to remember the struggles, the triumphs and the journey we’ve been on for 23 years. Another day to be grateful. Is it a coincidence that World DS day and Easter are celebrated so close to one another? Maybe, but for me, it’s perfect timing and it goes hand in hand. It’s just another reminder to celebrate Hope— her gifts, her spirit, her childlike faith, her boldness and her accomplishments, and especially to remember Whose hand has been guiding her every step of the way.
We can all celebrate hope if we have a relationship with Jesus—the hope of eternity. Death is not the end! The tomb is empty!
I called Hope this morning to wish her “Happy Easter” since she chose to stay in Clemson with her friends this weekend. (Imagine that!) I said, “He is Risen,” and she said without missing a beat, “He is Risen indeed!”
How are you letting your light shine today? Are you bold in letting others see God in you?
“Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven. “ Matthew 5:16