Black Friday. The day when greedy stores pile it high and sell it cheap to people who can’t afford to buy things they don’t really need. If you joined the scrum and managed to get a bargain, that’s great but I can’t help feel sorry for the people who’ve been trampled on, pushed and bullied out of the way. There’s something about this day that’s very unsettling. It brings out the very worst in human nature. It’s consumerism gone mad and quite frankly I was glad to be working and away from it all.
By contrast it seems to me that people with Down’s syndrome bring out the very best in human nature. The simple things in life suddenly become much more important, more tangible, more real.
As I type I’m listening….no that’s not true…. as I type I can hear Emily singing at the top of her voice to the Christmas songs she’s listening to in her headphones. To the discerning vocal coach there may be one or two pitching issues but to me it’s just delightful; the sweet sound of someone living life to the full. Emily really doesn’t care whether Shakin’ Stevens is able to sing with the same nasal tones that she specialises in. Neither has she the slightest interest whether Boney M can manage to keep to her immaculate timing. She’s belting it out and loving life, right here, right now. A smile draws across my face. It’s such a lovely thing to be reminded of the simple pleasures of life.
I love that about people with Down’s syndrome; the ability to live in the moment. To be totally and completely in the moment. Who cares about tomorrow? Now is where it’s at. And whilst you might say it’s an ignorance of the truth or a failure to acknowledge what’s going on in the world around, I really do think it’s the sweet innocence of life. I wish I could live in that moment. I hope I learn to live in the moment more, rather than worrying what’s happening tomorrow, next week, next month or next year.
That said, I am a much nicer person for having Emily in my life, and for knowing so many other people who have Down’s syndrome, and their fantastic families. To me it doesn’t matter whether I’ve met them in person or chatted through social media, I’ve met some wonderful people who have enriched my life and continue to do so.
As I walked in the city on my way home from work this evening, I was thinking how blessed I am to be part of this amazing local and online global family. I passed a guy busking. He’s there every day rain or shine wearing a red sparkly cowboy hat, tapping a tambourine and singing just as beautifully as Emily. He also has a learning disability. I smiled and thought of a way to bless him at Christmas. Would I have done that before I knew Emily and joined this amazing family? Probably not. That thought alone made every step of a drizzly November evening stroll through the city centre a much better way of spending Black Friday; working out how I can be a blessing to other people.
I also remembered a great song which sums up everything that Black Friday is not; giving something away to help someone else. I receive so much from Emily it’s only right that I give something back, isn’t it?
You can watch the video here.
What if we all just give this Christmas away
If there’s love in your heart, don’t let it stay there
Give this Christmas away
And your life will be changed by the gift you receive
When you give this Christmas away
Maybe, just maybe, the simple pleasures of life are worth far more than anything the shops were selling today. Let's learn to live in the moment.
Emily? She’s now watching I’m a Celebrity… she’s totally in love with Ant & Dec – I think it’s because they’re about her height! Watch out Jono!