The Litmus Test

Lyn is my litmus test.

When you have an important person in your life who has something different about them, you become very aware of how they are treated by others. Unfortunately, not everyone is comfortable around individuals with differences. The person is "other" because they may have a different skin color, accent, religion, sexuality. The person may have a physical or intellectual disability, a mental illness or have some other characteristic which makes them stand out from whatever is the norm.

Lyn may not look obviously different, especially when she was younger. However, within three sentences, you can tell she is different. Within a few more sentences, most people clue in to her intellectual disability. It becomes evident very quickly who is comfortable around her and who is not comfortable. Since Lyn is important to me and because her care is within my realm of concern for life, someone who treats her well immediately is someone I'm more open to befriending. Someone who treats her poorly or discriminates against her will never become part of our lives.

I'm not here to change lives. If someone is genuinely uncomfortable with her disability, I can acknowledge and respect their feelings. Their feelings are real to them. All I ask of them is that they treat her with respect despite their own feelings. As with anyone who is different in any way, Lyn deserves common courtesy.


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