Before I even open a package.

I am reminded.

Of the gift of difference.

I did not always see it as the blessing it was. I blamed the hurt I felt from being so visible on my differences, not other people’s prejudices. I was able to see, close up, how people who thought themselves kind could act in ways that were cruel. Seeing that could lead to bitterness. But it didn’t. Because my differences became something that allowed me to see those others who didn’t believe that difference should mean deferance. Those people who had whose open hearts lead to an open mind.

My parents held a Christmas party once that I remember. They moved the furniture so that there could be dancing. They arranged for food to seem endless and booze to be abundant. I was maybe 12 years old, I didn’t understand why they were having the party, I dreaded it. My house was the only place that I could be sure that I would not be bullied or teased or mocked, now people would be trotting in. My social sanctuary invaded.

The guests arrived. I didn’t know most of them. I may have known their children but I didn’t know the parents. About a half-hour in a coarse remark was made about my weight and apparently, it was hilarious. Soon after I retreated to my room, which was just off the front room where the party was happening. About a half-hour later came a small knock at my door, I reluctantly got up and answered. A really pretty young woman in a lovely dress stood there.

I looked at her with a question on my face and she said, “Your father tells me you want to be a veterinarian,” she said and I nodded. “He tells me you have quite a collection of dog figurines,” she continued. Again I nodded. “May I see them?” she asked.

I opened the door and she came in. The door stayed open and the sounds of the party were loud and the scene raucous with dancing and partying. She sat on the bed and I gave her a tour of the hundred or so dog figurines that I had. She talked about them at first and then slowly switched over to chat with me about other things. About every 15 minutes she was asked back to the party by the man who’d made the remark. She just said, “No, I’m good here.”

She stayed with me showing interest in me for well over an hour. She left, closing the door behind her saying, “Don’t let what people say make you feel like you can’t achieve something in your life. Don’t give them that.”

I had been repaired.

I am reminded.

Of the gift of difference.

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