David was the fifth child in our family of eight kids. He was two years older than me and was born with Downs Syndrome. We lived in the "way outback" in south Alabama.
When I was a small girl, I was so totally embarrassed when people would stare at him as if he were a freak. He always noticed it, too. Many times he would ask the rest of the family why are they looking at me like that? We always told him it was because he was so handsome. But, I was still ashamed to be seen with him in public myself, and I was his sister.
One hot summer afternoon when David was 14 years old, he came running into the house sobbing loudly. His heart was breaking in two. Before I could get to him to see what was wrong, he had fallen down beside his bed and began to cry and pray. This was his prayer:
"God, why me? Why am I so different from everybody else? Nobody understands me. I just want to play with all the other boys and be like them. Why? Why? Why am I so different?"
My heart began to pound. My anger began to rise. I walked outside to see what had happened. My younger brothers said several boys from the neighborhood had been in our yard mocking and making fun of David after he asked if he could play with them. They broke his heart.
Remembering what I had just heard, my anger turned to rage. I went looking for those boys. They were still mocking David when I found them two houses away. I whipped 3 boys that afternoon, all bigger and older than me. I quickly ran home and confessed my fighting to Mom, before those boy's mothers could get to her.
David was still crying when I had gotten home. He stayed beside his bed for over three hours crying and praying to God. When he finally ended his prayer, he so quietly said to God:
"I want your will to be done in my life. Amen. Thank you, God."
Crying myself, I tried to comfort David that afternoon, but could not. He was too broken in spirit to hear me or to feel my compassion for him.
That was the first time I really knew that David fully understood how different he was. My image and view of him totally changed that afternoon. He became a strong focal point in my life. I loved him so dearly and took him with me everywhere when Mom allowed me to.
My admiration and respect for him knew no boundaries. He showed love to everyone he came in contact with. His life was centered around loving people unconditionally. He accepted everyone. He never spoke ill of any person. Even when people hurt his feelings, he forgave them immediately and hugged their necks.
It was many years later, when he died at 49 years of age, that 'I' received the answer to 'his' prayer. I realized the "why" of David's life.
Before he was placed on life support and was unable to speak to us, I was sitting on a short stool beside his hospital bed when David reached for my hand about 2:30 a.m. in the morning. He smiled at me, told me he loved me and asked,
"Sis, will you hold my hand when .... you know?"
I knew from the look in his eye that he knew something I did not even want to think about. I hugged him tightly, gave him a kiss on the forehead and agreed to hold his hand until he got better.
David's earthly body soon gave up. He could not fight to stay alive for us any more. I had been holding his hand and singing worship choruses to him for several hours. He left this life behind as I was singing "Amazing Grace."
So many people attended his funeral. He had touched so many different people. The main topic of conversation about David at the funeral focused on the way he had touched and loved so many people during his lifetime.
Then I remembered his prayer and this was God's answer. The reason David was born with Downs Syndrome, and the reason he was so different was so everyone who knew him could learn to love, God's way, by watching David shine with pure, unconditional, unfailing love, forgiveness and longsuffering. What a wonderful man my brother was!
My heart breaks each time I think of the physical and emotional suffering throughout his lifetime. But I smile each time I think of what he meant to so many people.
His reason for being was to teach us how to love. God's way.
~ Author Unknown ~
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