This is kind of a story about a butterfly.
Recently we had some caterpillars that we got to watch grow, form their chrysalises, and hatch into butterflies. But during the excitement of it all we noticed that one of the butterfly's wings wasn't expanding like it was suppose to and upon further investigation we realized that not only had its wing not formed all the way but two legs were also under developed. It couldn't really fly or walk.
So we carefully took it out of the habitat and gave it some space and help to get the sugar water to eat and a spot to rest on cotton that would help it be able to balance better.
And we had a good talk about it.
"Just because his wing is different, does that make him less special or less of a butterfly?"
"No!" my girls chimed.
And we all realized how much that little guy got into our hearts and how we wanted to protect him and help him to feel safe and happy.
The whole experience became a great segue into talking to our girls about people with disabilities and for our service project this month.
While searching the awesome website of justserve.org, I came upon a center for people with disabilities that was asking for anyone to come perform any kind of music for their members. Kids love to sing! So we contacted the organization, set up a time, practiced a little 15 minute program and then we were ready! (We also invited some other family to come sing with us because the more the merrier!)
And seriously. Before I go I know its going to be a good experience but then during and afterwards there is something so profound that hits my gut and softens my heart. The kids enjoy it and feel good but they go about serving in a natural way, because it makes sense to their innocent hearts. But as an adult it has been impacting me in ways I didn't foresee.
And each service experience has perpetuated in some way. This time the center asked if we would come back once every other month to sing to them. I was surprised and humbled. The owner said, "They may not be able to express it in every way but music is so important to them, good for their hearts, and brings them so much happiness."
As we were leaving we took the girls around to say "hi" to some of the people. Honestly they were a little nervous at first. I took Hazel over to a woman who loved kids and was so happy. She couldn't talk but she held out her hand to Hazel, who hesitated. I told her it was okay and then she set her hand on the woman's hand and they held hands for a brief moment. I felt Hazel relax and then she smiled.
I saw my girls go from awareness, to understanding, and then to love- from holding a butterfly in our hands to holding hands with our fellow humans.