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GIST - January 2001 Issue
It Is Those Little Things

  
     Triumphant, a master faces the wind the victor. Beleaguered, a loser, he has his back to the wind, bowed by its force..

       We had a violent windstorm surrounding the Absolute Monastery in Campo. The trees bent and the rain poured down in buckets. I was busily working on my computer when I sensed something was wrong. I heard the side yard gate swinging in the storm. 
        I sort of woke up realizing, Hey, the gate IS open and the dogs can go out if they are in the yard. Surely, they are not in the yard.
        Concerned, I ran outside and closed the gate. Then I took inventory of our two dogs, the miniature Schnauzer Button and the minipin Little Love. Button was sound asleep in his basket-Love was nowhere to be found.
        I dashed outside into the powerful wind tearing up the canyon in which we live. In a cantankerous mood, the blow changed directions repeatedly. 
        I called, Little Love, come Love, come Love. 
        No response. 
        First, I looked all over our fenced acre about the Embassy, my home. No Little Love. Then I did what I should have done in the very beginning, I quieted my concerned self and said, I know where you are, Little Love, I know exactly where you are. 
        I remained quiet for a few minutes, and then in me I felt a knowingness and with my head up I walked straight into the wind north and east of the Embassy to our large water storage tank.
        Only the sound of the wind could be heard. Yet, in all of this "noise" I heard a quietness. I searched with my heart and my eyes. I was not frightened for Little Love I only knew he should be home in the house and comfortable in his basket. 
        I was directed to the water tank. I did not see the eight-inch high black minipin. 
        I stood still for a moment. 
        I looked behind me. There was Little Love standing with his back to the wind, his cropped tail turned downward, his head hanging low, soaking wet, looking all the world like the most forlorn creature on the face of the Earth.
        He did not hear me. 
        I reached down to pick him up. He crumbled in my arms and began to shiver. 
        I said, That's OK Little Love, you are all right now. There, there, there! He nestled in my arms and the frightened shivering stopped. He looked up at me and knew now everything was right.
        I had a mission. I walked facing my adversary, the wind and the rain, confident in my purpose and myself.
        Little Love was frightened. He was lost. He was befuddled and did not know where to turn. Animals left to fend for themselves in a storm with nowhere else to go, stand with their hindquarters toward the inclement weather, head bowed, waiting for the storm to end. 
        When we are triumphant, we face the storm, we listen within and find shelter, we are undaunted by all that we must face.

His computer is not working as fast as yours, he needs a little more time to catch up and do what you are doing.

        The children in the kindergarten looked at Arnie. He was the same age as the rest of the children but his nose was running all of the time and his attention span was very short. Besides that he acted differently from the rest of the class.
        Eagerly the children wanted Arnie to join in with them in their games, but Arnie had trouble keeping interested in anything for very long. 
Arnie's parents wanted him to attend a normal kindergarten rather than the special school he was told he could attend. 
        Openly, the children wanted to know what was wrong with Arnie.
        Their teacher explained to the youngsters that Arnie has a problem in his head, in his computer. His computer did not work as fast as theirs.
        For some lovely reason this explanation was perfectly adequate for the class and they took Arnie under their "wing" as a special person whom they wanted to befriend and help.
        The teacher was not prepared in her teacher training to handle a situation like this-that was why "special" schools were set up for children with special needs-but she listened to her heart and acted.
        She would take time during each class session to teach Arnie how to blow his nose and wash his face. Soon members of the class asked for the privilege of helping Arnie. One boy took to sitting next to Arnie so Arnie would not miss anything. Little by little, the seemingly hopeless condition of Mongoloidism- Down's Syndrome-Arnie had, was forgotten as he learned to socialize with his fellow students.
        His class moved to the first grade.
        Arnie stayed behind.
        When the new semester began Arnie joyfully rushed to school to be with his friends. He peeked into the classroom and found all new faces. This puzzled him. Finally he saw "his" teacher. With a burst of joy and outrageous laughter he rushed to her and hugged her tightly.
        Soon a new class took Arnie under its "wing" and a new class of angels found socializing with a person who was just a little "different" from them was fun, exciting and rewarding. 
        The teacher, too, found this was a very exciting and rewarding element of teaching she had never expected. To help Arnie find something within himself on which to build his life-that was outstanding.
        The PERK of having the entire class learn to work with someone who was a little-or even a lot-different from themselves was a lesson that each of those honored students remembered and benefited from all of their lives.
        Now retired, after a life-long-career of teaching children, the teacher finds the blessings continue to return to her. She lives in the same community. From time to time she is greeted by "strangers" on the street, even as she visits in hospital wards, and they with grizzly beards and mature faces say, "Remember Me?" Characteristically she responds, "Tell me your name," only to find it is a student 40 years before who had befriended Arnie which would enrichen his entire life.
        Arnie's parents were encouraged to place their special child in an institution allowing them to "live their lives with less stress." 
        Arnie's mother responded, "Arnie chose us as his parents. We have chosen Arnie as our son. Arnie has taught us more than we could have ever imagined. He taught us nonpossession. He always wanted to help. 
        "When he finally learned to ride a bike, he rode it in the yard, but in the process our car got scratched, the other children's toys were damaged all as he joyfully would ride into everything. 
        "We bought special clothing for all of the children one Christmas, you know designer jeans type of thing. Well, Arnie wanted to help one day and washed all of the new clothes-with bleach just like mother does-exit designer symbols and logos and so forth. 
        "Arnie meant well and did not hurt anything except our need to possess. He has taught us so much, I would not have missed it for anything."
        The parents subsequently sent Arnie to a "special" day school. During the first week the boy learned a new word everyday and showed tremendous improvement. Part of the speed of improvement was credited to Arnie's socialization and part to his natural hidden genius. Their experiment with the normal school for Arnie served its purpose and Arnie left his mark on many hearts, even as he does today.

Life's treasures shower upon us more often than we shall ever know and MOST often in ways we least expect. Be ready, my love!

-Dr Herbert L Beierle