Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Dream Come True

Love is more important than anything else.
Col 3:14 CEV

Today, as I was working my way through a stack of unopened mail, an interview on TV caught my attention.  Before I knew it, I had a huge lump in my throat and was fighting the urge to sit down and have a good cry.  And I do mean good; the emotions bubbling to the surface of my heart were the sweet kind that come when love triumphs and dreams come true.

Tim Harris, born with Down’s syndrome, was on The View talking about the “world’s friendliest restaurant”:  Tim’s Place, located in Albuquerque. Tim had a dream of owning a restaurant since the age of 14.  He wanted a place that not only had good food, but that made people feel welcomed and loved.  He said, “I love giving all the customers a hug because I want them to feel comfortable and connected and being around friends.”  People come from around the world to get a hug and meal at Tim’s Place. 

A video of Tim’s Place has gone viral.  You won’t be sorry if you take the time to watch this:

Hugs.  It’s one of the things I miss most about my older sister Debbie.  Like Tim, she was born with Down’s syndrome.  Although her disability challenged her in many ways, one thing came easy for her:  Love.  I can’t remember a time when she didn’t greet me with a hug. 

Growing up with Debbie as my sister made me a better person.  I admired her childlike faith, her ability to forgive, and her love for Jesus.  She didn’t care about things, or money, or impressing people.  What mattered most to her was love.  She often told me through the years that she wanted to be like me…wanted to be a nurse, or get married, or have kids…..and I would just die inside.  I wanted those things for her too.  But what I would say to her, and meant with all my heart, is I wanted to be more like her!

A gift God gave Debbie before she died was to see one of her dreams come true.  She got married!  Chris and she met living in the same adult group home, became friends and fell in love.  Chris was also developmentally delayed.  A tragic accident when he was a teenager resulted in permanent brain damage.  But, like my sister, he still had dreams and things he wanted to do with his life! 

“It is pleasant to see dreams come true”
Prov 13:19; NLT

Debbie and Chris were embraced by their church in the small town of Chewelah, Washington.  Members gave them rides to and from church and included them in the church family.  When Debbie and Chris announced their engagement, they gave them a shower.  My mom, aunts and I were invited.  Ladies of the church presented a handmade quilt as a gift.  These are sweet, sweet memories for me, watching one of my sister’s dreams come true. 

I believe, as Tim said so well in his video, people with special needs “are a gift to the World!”  I want more to come to know God, discover their purpose, and live out their dreams.  I believe we can learn from their example that our dreams are worth pursuing too.

Something God has spoken to my heart recently was "Chase Your Dreams".  I've spent time since asking myself "What are my dreams?"  I know recent life disappointments and perceived failures caused me to let some dreams die, but maybe I carried that too far?  Maybe I let go of some, that God meant to fulfill!  Writing and speaking about God's love has been a desire for a long time. This blog is my way of chasing after that again!
Tim Harris said in the video:  "I don't let the disability crush the dreams."  What a wise young man. Don't we all have things in our lives that could hold us back if we let it?  What dream has God given you?  Maybe today He is saying to you: "Chase Your Dream!"  Like Tim, you are a gift that God can use to bless others in your world.

-Laurel Bahr

PS.  Our church body has been blessed by hosting The Friendship Ministry to those with special needs.   Like Tim, like my sister, there is humility and love emanating from them that is very Christ-like.  We have 70 attending every Sunday.  The room is packed out and we don’t want to turn anyone away.   I want to ask you, My Sistah’s, to pray for more churches in our community to share the blessing of including those with special needs in the family of God. 

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