Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter & "The Day Phillip Joined the Group....."

i love Easter!  i love to celebrate Easter with family and friends.  we always get together with my mom's side of the family to cook out and have an Easter egg hunt, up in the "country," where my mom grew up!  we did that yesterday and had a lot of fun!   my dear friend susan and her boys joined us, as they have done occasionally throughout the years!   it was a beautiful day!  

today was a beautiful Easter sunday, and we attended our regular worship service.   the music was great; they sang a song during which different people walked across the stage with signs that were hand printed with an adversity or life circumstance on one side, and on the reverse side, how God had worked in that situation; for example: "victim of domestic abuse/i'm alive!"  "biological father left at age 3/Heavenly Father will never leave me"  "only daughter died in a tragic car wreck/i will spend eternity with my only daughter because of the sacrifice Christ made!"  "born a sinner/saved!"  to list a few.  it was very moving and emotional, as i knew many of their stories, and the pain that they had gone through.  needless to say, i cried a bit, as i reflected with them how great our God is, and that He is alive and well, at work in our lives!  
our preacher went on to preach his message about Jesus' resurrection, which we celebrate on Easter.  towards the end of his message, he retold a paul harvey story about a boy with Down syndrome, which i am including below.  i had heard the story before, but for some reason, as soon as steven starting telling it, i FELL APART.  not just a little.....a LOT.  i thought i was going to have to get up and leave, i was so upset.  the thought that one day wyatt could be excluded and made fun of just tore me up.....i was sick to my stomach.   it was a terrible feeling.....i know my friends in the choir, who could clearly see me, felt so bad for today has been an emotionally draining day......
The Day Phillip Joined the Group

He was 9--in a Sunday school class of 8-year olds. Eight-year-olds can be cruel. The third-graders did not welcome Phillip to their group. Not just because he was older. He was "different." He suffered from Down's Syndrome and its obvious manifestations: facial characteristics, slow responses, symptoms of retardation. One Sunday after Easter, the Sunday school teacher gathered some of those plastic eggs that pull apart in the middle -- the kind in which some ladies' pantyhose are packaged. The Sunday school teacher gave one of these plastic eggs to each child. On that beautiful spring day each child was to go outdoors and discover for himself some symbol of "new life" and place that symbolic seed or leaf or whatever inside his egg. They would then open their eggs one by one, and each youngster would explain how his find was a symbol of "new life." So ... The youngsters gathered 'round on the appointed day and put their eggs on a table, and the teacher began to open them.

One child had found a flower. All the children "oohed" and "aahed" at the lovely symbol of new life. In another was a butterfly. "Beautiful," the girls said. And it's not easy for an 8-year-old to say "beautiful". Another egg opened to reveal a rock. Some of the children laughed. "That's crazy!" one said. "How's a rock supposed to be like a new life?'". Immediately a little boy spoke up and said, "That's mine. I knew everybody would get flowers and leaves and butterflies and all that stuff, so I got a rock to be different." Everyone laughed. The teacher opened the last one, and there was nothing in it. "That's not fair," someone said. "That's stupid," said another. The teacher felt a tug on his shirt. It was Phillip. Looking up he said, "It's mine. I did it. It's empty. I have new life because the tomb is empty." The class fell silent. From that day on Phillip became part of the group. They welcomed him. Whatever had made him different was never mentioned again. Phillip's family had known he would not live a long life; just too many things wrong with the tiny body. That summer, overcome with infection, Phillip died. On the day of his funeral nine 8-year-old boys and girls confronted the reality of death and marched up to the altar--not with flowers. Nine children with their Sunday school teacher placed on the casket of their friend their gift of love - an empty egg ...

Easter Blessings to you and yours.......peace.......


  1. Don't leave me hanging, woman!!! I haven't heard this story. ;-)

  2. Aww! Bawling my eyes out! First of all "SUFFERING" from DS, I always hate that, but will forgive a Paul Harvey story for it. I loved him, and am not sure if his son still does a show in other parts of the country, but I miss his program more than alot of things in my life. Anyway, rembling, sorry... precious story that was. Our kids DO THINK, and FEEL, and have a GREAT UNDERSTANDING of most things. I think it is so important to teach our kids, typical or not, to be kind and respectful of others. PERIOD! Yes, kids can be cruel, but they can also be taught that cruelty is unacceptable! Great post!

  3. I loved listening to Paul Harvey growing up. I had never heard that story. God bless you Phillip, fly high with the angels. What a blessing he was to those children.