I present to you the following story – words once spoken by
the late Fred Rogers as only he could. “There was a story going around about
the Special Olympics. For the hundred-yard dash, there were nine contestants,
all of them so-called physically or mentally disabled. All nine of them
assembled at the starting line and, at the sound of the gun, they took off. But
one little boy didn’t get very far. He stumbled and fell and hurt his knee and
began to cry.
The other eight children heard the boy crying. They slowed
down, turned around, and ran back to him – every one of them ran back to him.
The little boy got up, and he and the rest of the runners linked their arms
together and joyfully walked to the finish line.
They all finished the race at the same time. And when they
did, everyone in the stadium stood up and clapped and whistled and cheered for
a long, long time. And you know why? Because deep down we know that what
matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What really matters is
helping others win, too, even if it means slowing down and changing our course
now and then.”
We are quick to judge our own lives. In one breath we feel
as though we’ve hit the bottom and that no one could possibly understand how
difficult the challenges we have to face truly are. Yet in the next breath
we’re back to our self-serving ways, mocking those with special disabilities as
though somehow their lives are simply insignificant when compared with our own.
Those with disabilities will journey down a road that many of us will never
take. They will face obstacles and difficulties far greater than the so-called
“problems” that seem to rock the very foundations our lives are built upon. And
yet through it all, somehow I can’t help but feel they’ve come out the winners
in all of this. Somehow they have the answers to how to live and what’s
The final words of Roger’s story went something like this,
“It’s really easy to fall into the trap of believing that what we do is more
important than what we are. Of course, it’s the opposite that’s true: What we
are ultimately determines what we do.”