A soldier called his parents to tell them that he was finally coning home after having fought in Vietnam for some time. He called from San Franciso and said;
“Mom and Dad, I’m coming home, but I have a favor to ask. I would like to bring my friend along with me.”
“Sure,” they replied, “we’d love to meet him.”
“There’s something you should know,” their son continued. “He was hurt pretty badly in the fighting. He stepped on a landmine and lost an arm and a leg. He has nowhere else to go and I want him to come and live with us.
“I’m sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find a place to live.”
“Mom, Dad. I want him to live with us.”
“My son,” his father continued. “You don’t know what you are asking of us. Someone with a handicap such as his, would be a terrible burden on us. We have our own lives to lead and can’t let something like that interfere with our way of life. I think that you should come on home and forget about this guy. He’ll find a way to live on his own.”
At that point, their son replaced the receiver and his parents heard nothing more from him.
A few days later, they received a call from the San Francisco police.
“Your son has fallen from a tall building and died,: they were told. “We believe it was suicide,” a police officer added. The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify their son’s body. They recognized him but to their horror, they discovered something he had not told them. The body that was shown to them, had only one arm and one leg.
These parents are like many of us. We find it easy to love the good-looking people who are fun to have around. But, we don’t like those who inconvenience us or make us feel uncomfortable. We would rather stay away from those who are not as healthy, beautiful or smart as the rest of us.
Thankfully, there is someone who will not treat us that way; someone who loves us unconditionally, who always welcomes us into the family regardless of how messed up we are. So before you tuck yourselves in for the night, say a little prayer to God or whoever you believe in, to find the strength you need to accept people as they are, and to help us develop empathy and understanding for those who are different.
Friendship is a miracle that dwells in our hearts. Friends are rare jewels who make us smile and encourage us to succeed. They lend an ear, share a word of praise and are always ready to open their hearts to us.