Sometimes in life you have moments where you know you are have just been blessed. Such is the case when you are in the presence of either Alfred or Gracie.
Gracie is a little seven-year-old with the face of a cherub and a head full of bright red hair. She has a boundless smile and matching curiosity Gracie came to our Bible study with her mother for a while. Determined to hug everyone in the room at least once as soon as she entered the room, she was immediately designated the "minister of hugs."
Gracie didn't have the usual standoffishness many school-age children develop because Gracie has Down's Syndrome. She is sweet-natured, out-going and loving to everyone. Everyone gets a hug and a beautiful Gracie smile. Her perpetual state of innocence keeps her in a perpetual state of loving.
The same seems to be true of Alfred, although I have only met him once. As we were leaving the nursing care facility where we do services throughout the week, Alfred had just been wheeled outside by his caregiver to enjoy the beautiful spring day. Alfred is an adult, but his spirit and smile had the same childlike lovingkindness as Gracie's. Immediately upon seeing us, he stretched out his hand in greeting, told us his name and asked us ours.
"God bless you," was his response and then he offered us both a hug which we were not foolish enough to refuse. Joy and peace and love radiated from his tender face and it was as if the sun had decided to glow from the center of his wheelchair.
As we walked away, I told Glen that Alfred and Gracie remind me of the beautiful people humans actually could be. He said that they reminded him of the beautiful people the Lord is changing us into.
I know there are some who would quickly toss those like Alfred and Gracie aside, considering them to be damaged and worthless, but I have to tell you there is more worth in one of Gracie's hugs or a moment of conversation with Alfred than there is an hours discourse with many learned and education people of the world.