This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Godspeed Pictures, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #wherehopegrowsmovie http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
A couple months ago, I read a news story related to people with Down syndrome. I won’t go into all the details of the story, but it reflected the attitude of some people that those with disabilities such as Down syndrome wouldn’t have fulfilling or meaningful lives because of their disability.
That story irked me at the time, and it has stuck with me since then. I don’t have any friends or family with Down syndrome, but I have met many people with Down syndrome, and I had a friend growing up with a mental disability. They are often the happiest, sweetest people you will ever meet. To suggest that they are somehow less valuable because they don’t fit into someone’s idea of perfection is just ignorant.
I believe with all my heart that every person has intrinsic value.
That’s not just a bumper sticker sentiment, it is the truth. Every person is created in the image of God, and that automatically gives them value. To me that’s a given, but it’s not a given in our culture today. It has become common to try to quantify the worth of people, to the point where some even dare to deem certain lives to have little value.
But who are we to think we can determine that?
I don’t think you even have to look too hard to see the value of those with Down syndrome. The joy they so often exude, the friendship they offer so easily, their ability to look past the faults of others (despite whether or not those people can do the same), the fact that they can thrive despite the challenges that most of us will never face - all these things are sources of inspiration to those around them.
I recently had the opportunity to see a movie that I think illustrated this beautifully. In Where Hope Grows, Calvin Campbell is a washed up baseball player and an alcoholic. In the grocery store one day he meets a kid named Produce, who has Down syndrome. He is drawn to Produce’s happy spirit, and as Campbell gets to know Produce better, he is able to find hope for his own life and relationships.
(My parents and me enjoying the movie! Derek was there too, he just missed out on the pictures.)
Where Hope Grows comes out in theaters this Friday (the 15th), and I highly recommend seeing if you can catch it at your local theater! You can watch the movie trailer here:
And this was a part of the movie that we thought was fun!
The Christian influences in this movie were subtle, which I think makes it a movie that anyone can appreciate, even if they are not believers. But I loved how it was clear that Produce’s joy was because of his faith, and his faith was a beacon for Campbell through the movie as he started to see the changes he needed to make in his own life.
Where Hope Grows has message of hope - that even when you hit your lowest point, there is always hope to turn things around with help from God, and friends and family. I loved the example of Produce’s character, that every person has the potential to impact other people and show them the love of God, even when you might least expect it.
Produce invested his days well, even as a grocery store clerk. He used the place where God had placed him to reach out to others. I think many times we get so caught up in the busyness of the day to day that we forget that God has us where we are for a reason. We get so caught up in our own selves that we forget, or are too scared, to reach out to others.
I don’t think Produce’s character even realized how he impacted the life of Campbell, or his role in helping him get back on track. That’s the beauty of influence. You might never know how you or anyone else may influence others through your life, but you can bet that God can and does use anyone He chooses to change stories.
Derek mentioned how he liked the courage Produce showed at different parts of the movie, even in protecting and standing up for those he cared about. There was something innocent and refreshing about the way Produce’s character impacted those around him that I think is reflective of many people with mental disabilities. It is a beautiful thing. It is something to be valued, something the world needs. I think this movie showed that in a compelling way.
Joni Eareckson Tada has said that people are made for one purpose - to make God real to those around them. The beauty of that truth is that any person can do this. Someone who lives a hundred years, or a baby in a mother’s womb. The healthiest person in the world, or the one with the most challenges. The smartest person on the planet, or the one you would least expect. I think those with Down syndrome and other mental disabilities in particular can touch souls in ways that others never could.
Every person in the world has the capability to make God real to those around them.
Every person in the world has the potential to make an impact on someone else for eternity.
Every person is valuable, not because any human says they are, but because God says they are.
Where Hope Grows drove that point home for me again, and I think the DVD will be joining our movie library in the near future! Definitely check it out!