As We Watch

My sister played in her last high school volleyball game this weekend. I passed up on the Oregon State vs. Arizona state football game for it, but I was glad to be there anyways and see my family. My brother is a photographer and he positioned himself on the opposite side of us in the student section. As game time grew closer and the students arrived he kept having to move up the stands farther so they wouldn’t be in his way. It kept distracting me because he was carrying his camera and his bag and trying to move up the steps and over seats and finally he found a place without any obstructions.

A few minutes into the game a young girl entered the gym with her mom. She was wearing a cheerleading skirt over her jeans and was obviously disabled, Down syndrome or something. Her mother lead her to where the other cheerleader were standing and she hugged one and the stood behind them. But she didn’t watch the game or even pay attention to the other cheerleaders. Instead she watched the crowd of students as they cheered and chanted. She just watched them.

On Sunday I went to a new church for the second time. After leaving the church I was working at I thought I knew which church I wanted to start attending, but then I didn’t really know. This church has about 20 rows of seating and a balcony with more, a large wooden stage with a full band and a piano. They’re moving offices to make room for the bursting amount of children. The head pastor is soft spoken and funny and a good speaker.

I was sitting in my seat during communion, watching the people as they went up to the table for communion, and the band is playing music and everyone is singing. And I felt like the girl with Down syndrome in the cheerleading skirt the night before. Just watching the crowd. I felt like my brother a few more rows up taking pictures. Who can’t get hired at a job because he’s too disabled. Even when he’d do the job for free. Because he watches the world and he watches his brothers and he just wants to belong.

Just to belong.

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