Like many others in the disability community, this terrible letter found its’ way in front of me.  Much has been said about it, thankfully the community of Ontario has rallied in support of the family for whom the letter was meant.  In reading this horrible letter, I think there’s one word that strikes me as worth thinking about.  The rest of it is a caricature of fear and ignorance and the resulting loss of human perspective on the spirit of community.  We sometimes call that resulting loss “hate” but I think that word doesn’t really explain what happens when a person sees the world narrowly, selfishly, hopelessly.  I think of that way of seeing the world as the most sad and tragic of circumstances—for the person who sees that way.  What’s the right word?  I like “lost.”  That Mom who wrote that letter, whoever she is, is lost in confusion, terror and anger.  Alas, she thinks that her neighbor is the cause of her confusion, terror and anger.  That’s what always happens.  But the cause is her own.  She has made herself lost.  Alas.

But the word that interests me is “God.”  She writes the word with an implied harumph.   But the word jumps off the page for me.  We all have different ways of defining “God” but the one I like best I heard just a few weeks ago from the great spiritual master, Thomas Keating.  He said, “God is just a nickname because we don’t have a word to describe the indescribable beauty of unconditional love.  The nickname is just there to invite us to experience that beauty in our every waking moment.  That nickname means simply that each of us is already everything we could ever desire to be.  Maybe the better nickname might be ‘freedom.’”

I love that definition—we are everything we could ever desire to be—already!  Now that makes sense!  My heart and love and admiration goes out to the Begley family and to their son Max.  As their neighborhood responds to this terribly lost person who wrote this terribly lost letter, I hope and believe they will respond with love and freedom.  I also know that the whole world of Special Olympics joins this family in celebration of all the gifts that they are.

That writer did say one thing that makes sense:  “God!”  With that beauty and freedom and unconditional love, even this painful and hurtful moment can be transformed.

9 thoughts on “In support of Max Begley

  1. I hope all of the media coverage of this letter, in some way, teaches the writer that disabilities are to be celebrated, not feared.

  2. The writer of this letter says she is a mother. God help the child that has this monster as a mother. I just pray that her children are able to escape the hate and anger that surrounds them and have some empathy for others.

  3. I could not believe that the legal system would not help this family. They need to be protected form this awful person that is in their neighbor hood. When Special Needs people or person are around they need all the love and support from everyone. I truly hope that this person that was to much of a chicken to leave their name is found out and have to pay the price for what they have said. I would be so afraid to let him outside any more but knowing me I would be out there with him. Hope this family gets some help of some kind to protect their child. I have a special needs young adult who is at home and will always be at home. He has taught us so many new things in life and you truly look at life from a different point of view. I do not know what I would do if someone was to send us letter like that. My heart goes out to this family and I only wish them the best.

  4. I was shocked to see on the news last night that the police have said this is not a hate crime, just a neighbourhood dispute. I totally disagree, it is not a neighbourhood dispute when one person sends hateful mail to another, hiding behind the fact that no one can disagree with them because they chose to remain anonymous. This was hate pure and simple. I can’t believe our legal system would say its ok for me to write hateful things about someone with special needs or from a different country etc as long as that person is my neighbour. I was proud of Max’s mom for her response to the letter and happy to know the community is supporting the family. I wish our legal system would support her as well. I wouldn’t undo my son with Special needs for all the money in the world. I love him and through him i have learned a new outlook on life. He is amazingly loving and giving, doesn’t hold grudges, I think the world needs more like him and Max. People need to learn to be more accepting of others even if they don’t understand them.

    • It is a technical definition. Under Canadian law people with disabilities do not constitute a “group” that affords protection under their hate crimes laws. The officers are not saying that under a more liberal definition of hate crime that it is not one only that under current Canadian penal law it is not a hate crime. the problem here as most Canadian parents of children with disabilities will tell you is that the law needs to be changed. If Special Olympics fans, supporters, bloggers, athletes, parents, or any other designation of person concerned about this issue wants to actually make a difference then support in nay way you can those parents that are lobbying for the inclusion of people with disabilities as a unique “group” of people that can be and often are targeted by hate crimes.

  5. A disgusting letter. Would be justice if. Her normal children became special needs . Maybe letter writer would learn compassion then. What hate teaching children. I hav been involved in special Olympics in past through work in a group home.i work in a group home with 4 young men with autism. I have friends with autism & different abilities & disabilities.

  6. I have always believed that every ‘special needs’ child is a special envoy from God and that their purpose in this life is to test us so called ‘normal’. I believe we will be judged in the next life by how we treat special needs people in this life. We are supposed to treat everyone, no exception, the way we would want to be treated, however, quite a lot of people, people like the mother who wrote this letter, feel that the mentally and physically challenged children and adults are exempt from this mantra. They’re not.

  7. This is the most heartbreaking letter I have ever read on this post. It is just shocking that people can be so cruel and hateful to our “special needs children who are truly children of God” God bless this mother for loving and caring for her beautiful gift from God . She too is very special, as God would never give a child as wonderful as her son to the hateful woman who wrote that horrific letter.
    My granddaughter, Haylie Bernacki, is a shining example of the love and patience these children need and working for Special Olympics is exactly where she should be. Thank you for having her in your organization. She loves her job and has great aspirations for her future with SO!!

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