Wonder of wonders this morning. I was googling the title of a book (Praying with the Earth: A Prayerbook for Peace) I copied and pasted from a friend’s post and inadvertently included Facebook’s “like” link in the paste, and somehow that google brought up a twitter post by Doug Tennant.
I don’t tweet, so it wasn’t me! I clicked over, intending to flick by some other Doug Tennant’s blog, and then saw “human rights,” “inclusion,” “disabilities.” What the heck is Semiahmoo? His tweet hooked me, and my heart is glad. Just because: I’m an artist, I have two special needs daughters, human rights and civility and grace are ways I try to live my life and share with others, and heck, my name is Doug Tennant.
My daughters are teens now and we live in a small town and sometimes I just don’t know where to go for adequate resources and I worry about their future. And then I see the wonder of this community some other Doug Tennant in British Columbia is helping to grow and care for. Good hearts are everywhere.
Semiahmoo House Society is an inclusive and nurturing community for those with disabilities and acquired brain injuries that promotes creativity and self-actualization for everyone. Beyond providing FOR such individuals, they enable everyone to BE, supporting people to live full and valued lives of their own choosing.
When I was still a teen myself and just in beauty school, the residents of a nursing home were sometimes brought into our walk-in clinic for hair cuts. I will never forget one young man whose hair I cut. He was in a wheel chair, immobilized with muscular dystrophy and unable to communicate, except to display his distress that the short practical hair cut the aide ordered for him was NOT what he wanted. I had no choice but to do what was paid for, but the look of agony in his eyes at being denied so simple a desire as a hairstyle will never leave me. To be denied so much, to have no control, no choice at all.
Often those with special needs are treated as children, needing to be cared FOR, and we forget that our job is to teach them to walk as best they can as they grow, to cope as individuals. It is the culmination of life to experience self-actualization, that state where we are free to enjoy existence that is filled with what makes us whole: our interests, our tastes, expression of self shared with others or a Higher Power in an environment of safety and peace. That’s what I treasure for myself. That’s what I want for my children.
It’s important to remember that ALL individuals deserve the same rights. And thanks to people like this other Doug Tennant, for fighting to raise awareness and growing safe places. From what I can see, thank you for being awesome! Thank you for caring for people and loving them so very much. Thank you!
And one last note: do I think it’s some random coincidence that my search for a book on prayer provided me with a lucky landing on a site that answered some of my unspoken prayers? That such a site belongs to a guy with my same name? Nah. The Great Artist has a wicked sense of sly showmanship. I love it!