Gratitude flows freely during good times. The truth is, gratefulness can be transformational during life’s most difficult challenges as well. Illustrated by three different stories with a common theme of gratitude, we are reminded to be thankful in good times and in bad.
18-year-old Skylar Page, like many teenage boys, loves basketball, sings in the high-school school choir and enjoys making the girls laugh. Skylar is anything but typical in other ways. He was born with Down’s Syndrome. Skylar’s parents, Paula and Mike Page, along with his four siblings, are grateful for the impact that Skylar has made in their lives. Paula says, “knowing Skylar makes you a better person. I am more sensitive to others and their needs. Our whole family is.”
Skylar’s father, Mike, shared his thoughts in writing: “There are times when my heart hurts for him. He is so much like other teens but enough different to create social division. I know kids can be cruel and it is not always intentional... Somewhere within his soul is this overwhelming, forgiving love. Like God, he forgives and forgets. Someday maybe mankind will figure out that the scientific explanation for Down’s Syndrome, an extra 21st chromosome, is a gift. I believe God gifted Skylar and those like him with something extra. In many circles he is considered to be lacking something. I know better. Not because he’s my son, but because I have experienced his life. From child-like faith and actions, to times of teenage angst, and often profound statements on life; I have seen God’s providence through him.
Not only have I been blessed through Skylar but also through the many ‘handicapped’ people that his life has acquainted me with. Each one is a unique creation of God’s and created in His image.
When Sky was a baby, someone told us that God gives special kids to special people. I’ve heard that many times since and experienced it. On the other hand I have seen special kids being raised in poor conditions, both physically and mentally. I’ve seen some that were unloved and mistreated, even by family. I will never know in this earthly life why God allows this to happen. Maybe it’s to make people think and possibly get involved. Whatever the reason, I know that Sky has been used to teach us and others. I believe his life has great value, and God has gifted him beyond measure so that he can help others. Others like him, meaning the whole human race. We are all more alike than different. It is my hope and dream that hearts and minds around this world will be moved by The Sky Man to take action and erase the prejudice. Please do your part.”