I never knew his last name. Donnie was it. This was the late 70’s in the trailer park in Buchanan, MI, and I remember him to this day. I remember him because he touched my heart, he came in and made his impression known to me. You may be thinking some romance, but I assure you I was 9-ish years old and nothing could have been farther from the truth. You see Donnie had mental and some physical challenges. His mom was quite a bit older, the one time I saw her, and his dad also but apparently he was off and on abusive to Donnie. But Donnie always smiled at me. He couldn’t operate one hand well so it was tucked to the side most of the time. He rode his bike because he loved to and would wrap his damaged fingers around the bike handle bar on that side and happy as a lark ride around smiling at everyone. The bullies would tease him but he would smile. And something about that built me up way bigger than a 9 year old should ever probably be and I would get on my bike and ride with Donnie and dare those bullies to say a word. And they sometimes would. Once. You see, they knew I would not stop and way more importantly, they knew my Daddy. They knew he had been a Marine and a boxing instructor and was a farmer. They knew every muscle in that strong man and not because he bragged on it but because I did. At 9, I could not have taken on those much older and rougher and bigger male bullies alone. But because of the brains God gave me, I always had a perceived backing by this machine of a Dad (who they had absolutely no idea was a teddy bear inside now). I loved Donnie’s smile and it made me so very happy and proud to be fortunate enough to be smiled at by him. I thought that it was beautiful that God gave him that amazing smile though the world would only see the flaws. I loved that God enjoys variety in the treasures He makes in women’s tummies during that 9 months. I loved knowing Donnie and being the lead person in greeting him happily by name until other kids started doing the same. Filled me with pride. And I loved the power I could use to help him, just from knowing who my Daddy was and presenting him as all powerful (which he would have been if I needed him). I was powerful because my Dad was powerful. There was no one I could not stand up to because I knew who was in my corner. There was no power that could come against me and win because of Him. Now as an adult, I see my Daddy weak and frail and weaker and more frail every single day. And through my eyes, I look at him as I looked at Donnie. I do not see the flaws, I see the beauty God made, I see the man he was and always will be to me. And I know I have a great one in my corner still, a powerful friend who gives me drive and confidence and power to act and help save the Donnie’s of this world. And even were that not the case, I have the Maker of Men in my corner and who can face Him? Who can stand before their Maker? Not any one. So if you are a Donnie or a Daddy, God made you so incredibly beautiful and never forget the power of our Heavenly Daddy who is your backup.
I am thankful for friends during a very difficult season and I am so very honored for you to read my story. God gives us experiences to share and learn from. Part of who we are, they shape us and show us truths.