I can’t say that I am envious of my two-and-a-half year old son, but I desire to have the faith and love that he exudes each day. Fulton is blessed with Down syndrome, which I’ve come to realize means that he’s got an extra chromosome crammed with genuine love and a basic wisdom about life that most of us either lose or have difficulty attaining. Okay, maybe that’s being a bit flippant with biology, but there’s no denying that his simple mental abilities do not hinder his extraordinary faith.
After brushing his teeth last night, I held up Fulton to see himself in the mirror, at which point he smiled big and made his hand sign for “baby.” While most every child his age comprehends their own reflection in a mirror, Fulton is far from understanding that reality. Rather, he just saw a baby that he wanted to hold and love, like he does his infant sister. That simple moment got me thinking about what I see and think as I go about living my life. Truthfully, I probably too often look past or through what is in front of me because my intellect has me focused on what I need to get done. I go through most every day missing opportunities to love the people I interact with, while Fulton wants to jump into strangers’ arms and hug them for a few moments.
I like to think that my days are focused on caring for my family and working with my wife to help provide physical, mental, and spiritual development for our children—all good things and done out of genuine love. However, I don’t always go about my noble pursuits with a focus on love during execution, which I think gets me off track and ultimately makes me a less successful man and father. Fulton has helped me to see that I often over complicate life. I know that what I really want for my family and myself is to know God, love Him, and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven. If that is truly my desire then I should follow Fulton’s example to help guide me. I think by doing just that, I’d probably grow more in my faith and ultimately be a stronger man.
I witness the love that Fulton shares every day and the power that he has is inspiring. He doesn’t talk with words that anyone understands and he doesn’t amaze with athletic or artistic gifts, but most everyone wants more of what he shares because I think they feel God’s love when encountering him. Fulton may lead with love because that’s all he knows to do, but that certainly doesn’t diminish his impact on the world. On the other hand, I usually go about my days with a strategy that involves love, but is ultimately engineered through analytical process. Though my intellect may be far superior to Fulton’s, it is quite evident that my approach often fails to inspire others and me to know, love, and serve God as effectively as Fulton’s love-centered approach.
Fulton is not perfect and I should never not use my intellect and other gifts that God has given me, but witnessing how powerful simple, honest love is, I’m beginning to understand some of the wisdom that Saint Thomas Aquinas shared when he stated, “Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.”