For those of you who keep up with my posts, or follow me via social media outlets, you’re probably familiar with Uncle Vince.
My dad’s nearly 52-year-old big brother, who lives with us because of his special needs ((Down Syndrome)), is a superhero in my eyes. His Contagious Joy, unconditional love/acceptance of all & the way Jesus shines so bright through his life are just a few of the reasons my uncle is the best.
Last night, my dad & I had the opportunity to take Vince to “Night to Shine” — an event including food, games, & DANCE, for individuals like our sweet Vincey. The theme was Western & though I’m a little biased, I have to say, there has never been a more handsome cowboy than Vincent Wayne.
We came just for the dance portion of the night as music & dancing are two of his absolute favorite things. He’s probably one of the laziest cowboys on the planet, needing to sit down & take lots of breaks yet still snapping, shaking, & clapping to the beat from his chair.
It took him a few minutes to warm up to the huge crowd & figure out what was going on. Once he saw Donna, his friend from LEARN ((a day program he attends twice a week)) he found his groove. Donna & Vince shared several dances, smiles, hugs & we got a great many laughs watching the interactions.
Perhaps my favorite moment of the night was his grand entrance. Volunteers lined up outside the doors of the community center. As we made our way into the event they cheered, clapped, hooted n’ hollered for each of the special attendees.
For a minute all eyes were on Vince. All applause was for him. All smiles were focused his way.
The volunteers made him feel like a celebrity, like the most special person on this planet whom they were incredibly excited to see. His eyes lit up when one woman walked right up to him & said in a southern drawl,
“You’re looking mighty fine there cowboy.”
Seeing that smile, watching those innocent eyes grow wide with excitement, feeling his chubby little hand squeeze mine with joy was one of the most touching Vincent moments I’ve experienced. Instantly I was reduced to tears which probably looked like a crazy combination laugh/cry. It was absolutely beautiful to feel the energy, thrill, & love being poured out for every special person who attended. Of course we think Vince hung the moon, but to see others sharing that same love for him was beyond touching.
God has blessed me with an outlook that sees him in the midst of all things. In a crowd full of his most special creations, it’s impossible not to feel the Holy Spirit’s presence. As Vincey made his red carpet entrance, I instantly thought, “This must be how God sees us all the time.” Even in the midst of our ugly sins, human flaws, & disobedience, we have a Heavenly Father hootin n’ hollerin for us from the Heavens. Focusing His mighty love on every individual, longing for us to know & feel how incredibly special we are in His eyes. And though He is the Father to so many, He has the mind-boggling ability to make each person feel like His most beloved. There’s nothing we can do to take away His adoration or to remove the sparkle He sees in us despite doing absolutely nothing to warrant such a love.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
In my book, Vincent is always the brightest star, but, last night truly was his Night to Shine.
Enjoy the pictures!