There is a moving story on the front page of the Washington Post about a previously institutionalized, blind, gospel singer, Brian Slaughter.
Mr. Slaughter can, apparently, sing up a storm; he’s got the gift of the Holy Spirit. The story of how he was “discovered?” From the WaPo story:
Margaret Dickinson first met Brian Slaughter nearly 30 years ago, in the forgotten world that was Forest Haven. She was a graduate student, about to start work at the District’s facility for the mentally retarded. He was one of the residents, a young man who had lived there since the age of 10.
As Dickinson took in the conditions that day — the toilet overflowing into the day room, the two attendants engrossed in TV, the 60 idle men — she wondered how she could ever work at such a place. Shaking her head, she half-sang a line from an old hymn, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen.”
A deep voice sang back, “Nobody knows but Jesus.”
It was one of the men sitting on the bench along the wall.
“He was holding his trousers with his left hand because he didn’t have a belt,” she said, “and he had three big safety pins in the place where the zipper was. Most of the day’s menu was all over his T-shirt, and he had shoes with no shoelaces and no socks.”
There was one more thing: He was blind.
“Hi, I’m Brian,” he said, extending his hand. “And I’m a gospel singer.”
The conditions under which Mr. Slaughter was living are all-too-typical of how “liberal” governments, such as the District of Columbia, deal with the least of our brethren. Jesus, of course, set the much higher standard (Mt 25:45).
Brian Slaughter has a gift of the Spirit, and appears to believe with a clean heart that Jesus is his savior. I sometimes envy people like him; except that we all have our talents and our cross to bear, and envy is wrong.
Brian Slaughter does set a standard we would all do well to emulate. In the words of Ms. Dickinson, speaking of Mr. Slaughter:
I believe these people are heaven’s ambassadors. They’re highly evolved, special beings. They are our teachers.