Jeremy grabbed my hand and motioned for me to bow my head. I obediently held his hand and the hand of the person to my right. We bowed our heads and Jeremy began saying the morning prayer. As Jeremy spoke his prayer, the tears began to well up in my eyes. I tried to stop them but I was unable to control the raw emotion that his fervent prayer stirred in my soul. His prayer was as passionate as any Baptist minister I’d ever heard but it carried with it a sweetness that only someone as innocent as Jeremy could muster.
When he finished his prayer, he ended it with a hardy “humph” and we all clapped. It was the first time that Jeremy volunteered to lead the group in prayer. Normally, he sits quietly watching me intently for cues. He knows prayers are done when I squeeze his hand and give him his thumbs up sign signaling it’s time to go to the painting station.
Jeremy is a great painter. He is skilled at his craft and takes his job very seriously. He works diligently from the minute he sits at his station until he proudly signs his creation. Often, I have to coax him to take his lunch break which he usually shortens by at least ten minutes. He doesn’t stop until his bus driver arrives and insists it’s time to go.
These are all the traits an employer would want to see in a great employee. They’d want someone with the kind of passion Jeremy displays. They’d look for someone who exhibits the kind of work ethic that goes above and beyond to do a great job. I’m certain that Jeremy’s willingness to learn and his ability to get along with all his coworkers is something that employers would honor. Yet, at the age of thirty-six, Jeremy has never been employed before.
Prior to working with me, Jeremy sat at home alone and lonely with nothing to fill his days. It wasn’t because Jeremy didn’t want to work. It wasn’t because Jeremy was unable to do a job. It was simply because Jeremy has Down Syndrome and is deaf. Jeremy’s mother was unable to find anywhere for Jeremy to go during the days when she worked, so he sat at home with little to fill his days.
Now, Jeremy is a part of our family at Exceptional Entrepreneurs. His amazing spirit fills our workplace with a delightful joy. Jeremy not only has a joyful spirit, but he is a true gentleman; opening doors for all the ladies and helping everyone with any needed task. We are so blessed to have him with us. I thank God everyday for sending people like Jeremy into my life as a reminder that the most beautiful people are the ones we often overlook.
Jeremy’s prayer may have just been a series of grunts, yet no one doubted that his prayer was heartfelt and spirit filled because it was so pure and simple. I bet that he thanked God for finally having a job, friends, coworkers and bus to get him to and from work. Jeremy’s prayer may not have been understood by us in the natural world but I believe that God smiled because He heard Jeremy loud and clear.