“Josh, do you want yellow paint or blue paint?” I asked the dark handsome young man as he held his paint brush at the ready.
“Do you want yellow paint or blue paint?” came his reply.
I tried a different tact: “Which color would you like?” I asked as I pointed to the yellow and blue bottles.
“Which color would you like?” he repeated as he rubbed his hands in anticipation of painting.
His piercing blue eyes gazed at me and my heart melted. Holding his hand, I directed his attention toward the paint. First, I placed his hand on the blue bottle and then on the yellow bottle. “Choose one.” I instructed.
“Choose one.” he repeated as he picked up the blue bottle and handed it to me.
“Great job, Josh!” I praised his choice.
He grinned at me as I poured his paint into the cup. Without any hesitation, he carefully dipped his brush into the cup and went about his work with unbridled delight. It was clear that this young man was born to paint. As he turned the melted record, he never got one drop of paint on himself or the table. His meticulous workmanship was evident as his creation came to life. It was going to be a blue flower - a piece of yard art. The
iridescent blue on the black record was strikingly beautiful.
“This is going to be a masterpiece!” I said to Josh.
“This is going to be a masterpiece!” He repeated.
Next to Josh sat Jason chatting away about this or that as he made his melted records into a small fountain. Behind Jason, Zach was removing the cover off the worm bin preparing to feed the worms. On the other side of Zach, two volunteers were busily melting records on a grill having a grand time laughing and reminiscing about the days when we played our music on turntables. The baby sat in her playpen while Derek fed her cheerios.
“I’m the best babysitter.” Derek informed me.
“Yes, you certainly are!” I smiled at him.
As I looked around at all my special students I couldn’t help but notice what a happy place it was. No one was grouchy. No one was complaining. It dawned on me that I couldn’t remember a day when anyone was ever in a bad mood. I know that all my troubles seem to melt away when I’m with my kids.
Why, I pondered, are all these kids so happy? Surely they shouldn’t be happy by our standards. Some of them can hardly speak. Some have physical deformities that are very limiting and must be painful. Yet, they are all exceedingly happy. No, JOYFUL. That is what they are - JOYFUL. They are filled with joy beyond what we mere mortals can comprehend.
I have a theory. My theory is that these special people are God’s earth angels. They are angels sent into our lives to keep us humble. They are sent into our lives to remind us of how blessed we are. They are sent into our lives to bless us with pure joy - if we allow it. You see, we have to recognize God’s precious gifts in order to enjoy them.
“Josh,” I said as I noticed he was almost done with his blue flower, “would you like to paint a yellow flower now?”
“Yes.” he said.
My heart almost burst. Josh had never answered a direct question in his life. This is what I live for - little victories which shine through my special students every day. They are my earth angels that I am so blessed to serve.