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SO, earlier this week, I was venturing into different thrift stores looking for costume pieces for our next Teen Take video. I decided to stop into an adorable little store called "Special Hands Shoppe" which donates its proceeds to the Metzenbaum Center for people with special needs. Sure, donating proceeds is great, but it gets even cooler. Many of the objects sold are created by those that attend Metzenbaum. These great people also work at the store and under loving supervision do an incredible job keeping up the shoppe's very enticing displays and unique ambiance.
I had visited the shoppe before, but this day I was the met with a joyful, "Hello, can I help you find anything today?" from a young man I had never met before. Looking around, I realized that he was actually running the store by himself. I was impressed with his lively display of salesmanship, and my mouth widened into a grin despite myself as I explained that I was "just looking."
The young man got up from behind the sales counter, showed me around the store and explained the great work that was being done at the Shoppe. It became quickly clear that his disabilities did not include his mental status; he was extremely witty and charming. And, despite his slight struggle with speech and right hand and arm, he appeared more than capable of fulfilling the requirements of his position.
He conversed easily, and I found my fondness and delight growing at this handsome young man who was choosing a life full of productivity and contribution rather than one of wallowing in limitation.
"Come! Look at this table," he said with a sense of excited urgency. It was obvious that this particular table of bookmarks, bracelets, and other created knick-knacks was extra special. "I am 28 years old and am married to a beautiful wife. We have been working hard to start our own business and hope to someday make it on our own."
If my heart hadn't already been won over, it certainly was then. He went on to share beautiful stories of his wife's hard work at making bookmarks, beaded bracelets, and other products. He also expressed his intense patriotism brought on by the service of his two brothers who had been in the military, one of which is now 'retired' from duty due to a run-in with a bomb in Afghanistan.
As I listened intently, I found myself swept away with feelings of awe and gratitude that God had ordained this moment in my life. As our younger generations are being raised with the "entitlement" mentality, made even more obvious by the last political convention this past week, my heart glowed with hope at the words of this young man.
Our "entitlement process" - a blessing to those truly in need - was created for those such as he and his wife, and yet he has no desire to let it define and control him. Instead, he plans to work hard to be set free from such a system. In other words, he is truly pursuing the "American Dream" - to earn his independence by hard work and perseverance. All this mixed together with an incredible joy of living life, to boot!
To say he impressed me would be an gross understatement. In reality, this brief meeting in time has affected my outlook on life, liberty, and our country's future. In fact, had I been carrying more in my wallet, I would have come home with a table-full of trinkets to hand out as gifts! Posted in the image above is an example of one of the bookmarks.
God bless that incredible young young man with so much to give, and God bless our country that it might adopt a mindset such as his!
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Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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