Last year I met a boy named Jacob. No adjective is worthy enough to describe his personality, but if I had to pick a word I would choose “glowing.” He had a contagious energy; he could fill a room with laughter. He found a joke for everything and made sure everyone was smiling. His favorite hobby was dancing. Coincidentally, I met him at a National Honor Society sponsored dance in February.
Jacob was born with an extra chromosome. However, he would shake a finger at me and scold me if I classified him as disabled – because that is the opposite of how he sees himself. This dance had been held for kids enrolled in special education classes. I had never seen such a varied group of people before. Jacob stood out from them all, with a huge smile on his face, already starting to dance to the faint music behind the doors. When I had asked him how he was doing, he replied, “I can dance, I love it!”
Usually dancing in a room half filled with people wouldn’t be on the top of my list, but I couldn’t resist when he asked me to join him. I was just so fascinated with his optimism. I didn’t know what to expect when I first walked through the gym doors, and Jacob didn’t allow any time to absorb the set up. I was led smack dab into the middle of the dance floor. From there, I was taught to dance. He brought meaning and life into every step and twirl. It was as if the sun was shining through him in that dark room.
I was taught a multitude of other lessons too. One, don’t ever judge someone by their looks. Although Jacob was only 4’3”, he was the best dancer I’ve ever met. Two, start saying yes. If I had denied the opportunity to attend this dance, I would’ve missed out on Jacob, and I would’ve missed out on some of the best conversations I’d had in a long time. Conversations with true meaning, filled with laughter and wonder.
Lastly, no matter what’s happening, there’s always something positive. It so often happens that when something didn’t go as planned, I would get down on myself. Jacob taught me to look through the negatives and find the ray of light, because no matter what, something is always shining.