Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sophie's Kimmel Center Debut

"Peace, peace, peace, never ending. Joy, joy, joy, overflowing.
Love, love, love, everlasting, and true...this is my gift for you."

"Hello, my God , it's me, again,
there's nothing much I want to say just hello my God.
Hello, my God, it's me again. 
It's good to take the time to say hello to you. (Hello, to you)
I've got a lot to tell you, that it makes me glad to know, 
that you're always there, to hear me say 'hello' to you.
"Hello, my child, (Hello, my God)
Are you listening my love? (I am listening my God).
Listen well, there's something special I want you to know.
Hello, my child. (Hello, my God)
Believe me my love. (I believe you my God)
You make me glad when you give me the chance to tell you I love you.
Hello my God, ( Hello, my child)
It's me again, (believe me my love)
You make me glad when you give me the chance to tell you I love you,
(I love you my child)


Well, she was a long way from Zhengzhou, China, a few weeks ago when along with her school, Archbishop Ryan Academy for the Deaf and St. Lucy's Day School for the Blind, Sophie performed at the magnificent Philadelphia Kimmel Center. Above, you will see two videos, the first is the performance itself, the second one is the rehearsal. It was an experience that I will never forget.I was awestruck by the kids, some of them blind, three of the deaf kids from Sophie's school, and then the older kids who are developmentally delayed (from a different school).

I have been working with special needs kids for as long as I can remember. I know so much about the education, developmental levels, etc. for kids starting at birth. I know about reaching goals, developing strategies, and counseling parents. But what I learned that night was the true impact these special kids have on people, and the irony that they are just being themselves, and have no idea just how 'special' they are.

 The Kimmel Center was packed, completely full to the rafters, and during the kids' performance  I watched the people in the audience. At first they were stunned as the kids began to sing, and all of the were doing sign language, including the blind children. And then the tears began to flow.One after another, including and especially the dads and grandfathers, were visibly brushing tears from their eyes. When the first notes of "Hello, My God" played, anyone who was not crying began to cry. By the time the last note finished, the audience rose as one with a thunderous applause reserved only for the most accomplished of artists.  No matter the talent that has filled the stage through the years, I'm sure it was never so full of guardian angels who must have been beaming at the beauty and simplicity of their special charges.

The first time I heard "Hello, My God"  was at the St. Lucy Day Mass at Sophie's school in December 2010, just about a month after we came home with Shane. When I heard the first notes of the song, watching the blind children sing it, and holding the hand of my own child who is blind, the tears flowed freely. I felt the song like a warm hug, a blessing, as I struggled to deal with Shane's many needs and many delays. It is a song that takes your breath away at its simplicity, and makes you take a step back, listening to the words of a small child talking to God, knowing that not only is God listening, but He is so happy to hear His child speaking to him. It make us realize that we are God's little children, and He loves us so dearly, and wants us to just talk to Him, just tell Him we love him. As the parent of two 'special needs' children, (soon to be three!) there is so  much more to them that is 'special' than that which is 'needy'. Often we are the ones who are more needy, and we miss the 'special' things in life that our children are here to teach us.

I am so blessed to be in the presence of angels, every day.

I am listening, my God....

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