Then she was assigned “L” and the world of volunteering and “helping” began to change. In just a few short weeks she realized she wasn’t just helping “L” – “L” was helping her.
“L” is a special needs child. She faces challenges each day that few can understand. When “M” was first assigned to “L” she approached the relationship with a bit of pity and sadness. “This poor child” was the thought that raced through her brain. But that thought only entered her world once, because there was no need for pity or sadness for “L”. She was the happiest child on earth. She was stick thin but her face was ¾ smile and ¼ bright eyes. She loved life. She embraced every opportunity to laugh.
“M” nicknamed her “My Laugher” and little “L” loved that. “M” laughed right along with her. Soon their lunch table had more kids eating at it than there were chairs. Laughter was contagious and attractive.
“M” was in her 50’s now but she had grown up with a sister with special needs. Helping “L” brought back good times. Moments of laughter often bridged the gap between a sister without special needs and one with them.
Today “M” is also a “laugher”. She understands the power of happiness. “Laugher” reminds her. “M” was also reminded that we cannot help someone else without being served ourselves. Helping is contagious.