THE RELIGION CORNER: Because of Who You Are

Lyndia Grant | 12/11/2013, 3 p.m.
Unconditional love is when you love someone, just because of who they are!
Lyndia Grant

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 19:14

This week while working as a teacher in Montgomery County Public Schools with special-education students or shall I say, severely handicapped ones, my column jelled.

Five children, ages ranging 7-10 years old; one could formulate words and sentences. The others had to use notebooks to indicate to teachers what they needed or wanted.

Three of the five, I consider to be the most memorable: One, an African-American boy, couldn’t talk, he made strange sounds when he tried to communicate. As we assisted each child from the bus, the minute this boy stepped off the bus, another teacher took him by the arm, but he kept turning to stare at me. I wondered if there was something about me that captured his imagination.

Once, in the classroom; he began to pull at my jacket and blouse. Naturally, I assumed that the vibrant colors emblazoned on the blouse caused him to react this way. He wouldn’t be deterred. To some degree, it felt almost like harassment. You know how you feel when a bumble bee keeps following you? You swat the bee away, and it continues to fly in your direction. Well, that’s how the youngster made me feel.

Even during lunch, I had to position myself on the other side of a fence. The teachers all said, “We’ve never seen him like that before. You probably remind him of someone.” They said, “He likes you in a motherly kind of way!”

However, the next two students are the main point of the story. There was a little Caucasian boy about 7 years old, and his inseparable other half, who happens to be an African-American girl about the same age – both left an indelible impression upon me.

The little girl turned out to be the only student in class who could speak clearly and coherently. She absolutely loves the little boy. All of the teachers know about their special bond.

Let me describe the appearance of the little girl. She has an illness that causes her to retain excess fluids throughout her body. One side of her frame is considerably smaller than the other. She donned tight pants as most children do nowadays, and you could see how her leg and buttock are twice as large on her left side. Her legs, ankles and both hands are severely swollen. A scarf covered her head, and she wears glasses. Her chapped lips could have used some Vaseline, but she was as sweet as could be.

These two seemed inseparable! They both genuinely love each other – they’re friends, they’re buddies. The little girl really liked me a lot, too. She would come for a hug, and she always gestured to the little boy, urging him to join us. We would often participate in a group hug, at least 20 times each day. It was my pleasure!

The little girl always looked out for her special friend, and he responded with a smile as if he expected the attention that she bestowed upon him. Sometimes the two would hug, and teachers would break them up. That surprised me!

My point in this column: if adults would love each other unconditionally, regardless of race, creed, color or appearance, the way these two children do, despite their handicaps, the world would be a much better place.

These two little people love each other unconditionally. It’s not about outward appearances or deficiencies! Rather, it’s about the wonder and innocence of childhood – it’s about acceptance. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if adults would do the same?

Unconditional love is when you love someone, just because of who they are!

Lyndia Grant is an author, inspirational and motivational speaker, radio talk show host and columnist. Visit her new website at www.lyndiagrant.com and call 202-518-3192. Tune in Fridays at 6 p.m., to the radio talk show, 1340 AM, WYCB, a Radio One Station.