It’s the reason the moon is still orbiting the Earth, and why Green Bay Packer fans endure those Siberian winters.  The world of physics coined the term, gravitation, and defined it as, the force of attraction between any two masses. It’s a stunning concept when you ponder it… we don’t have the option of resisting the gravitational pull of the Earth, we are stuck. For a culture that so worships the idea of choice, this has to be unsettling.   

Have you ever met a person who you felt powerless to remove from your mind? Someone who was able to pull you in, regardless of your willingness? Caedmon is one of those people. You have seen me type it before, and no doubt you will again, but I wish I was more like him. Caedmon’s gravitational pull was in full effect last week, when he had to say goodbye to Ms. Jennifer.   


It was the best goodbye, it was the worst goodbye. Jennifer was interning at PPDC and spent the last few months getting to know Caedmon. Sadly, her session expired on Friday and she had to go back to her home in Georgia. When Jeni went to pick Caedmon up after his last day with Ms. Jennifer, it was worse than watching the Publix Thanksgiving commercials with my sisters. Tears upon tears. The reddish hues of joy mixed with the blue tones of sadness painted the canvas of life in a bittersweet lavender.  

What is it? How does a 50 pound kid have such a strong gravitational force? Almost all little kids have a powerful gravitational pull. If you don’t believe me,  just watch a newborn baby show up at church. Different quirks can enhance that pull: curly red hair, cute toddler speech idiosyncracies, big eyes, etc. Most of us, even the rough-and-tumble guys, are powerless to the pull of a chubby little one-year-old…why?   

Is it their frailty? Their tiny toes? The fact that they don’t judge us?  I wonder how much of the latter is true. I have met another little boy, named T.J., and he has sucked me in like driftwood in a whirlpool. The first day I met T.J., he jumped up next to me in the waiting room, gave me a few hugs, and gave me a few kisses  on the cheek as well. No judgement. No pretense. No hesitation. Just genuine, innocent affection… for a total stranger. He wasn’t concerned about the fact that I was wearing socks and Crocs. 

Not my feet...

The point is, I don’t know how true that is of me. I don’t know how free from judgement I am when I interact with people.
T.J. is affected by Down Syndrome. As soon as I saw him, I was drawn to him, but I don’t know if I had “genuine, innocent affection.” Deep within I might have wanted people to see me and think I was a nice guy. Perhaps I felt pity, but I don’t know. I stopped trusting my deepest motives a long time ago. I mentor of mind once said that “real sin isn’t the reasons we are evil to people; real sin is the reasons we are nice to people.” That’s so true. I’m rotten to the core. I don’t know if I am capable of selflessly loving another person at all, in fact I doubt it seriously.
But not T.J. and not Caedmon. I think God has graced them both with a capacity to love and accept that is stronger than gravity itself. I think that’s why we are all drawn to them. We feel selflessly loved, unconditionally accepted, and sincerely wanted. I wonder if they look at us, the way so many look at them? Do they feel pity when they see our costumes and masks? Do they feel grateful for their extraordinary movements and speech because those features, being so obvious, allow them to be real. But when they see us, they know we are trying desperately to hide our less obvious special needs, and they want to give us a hug.
I don’t know if they perceive it or not, but I know it’s true of me. I love how I feel when Caedmon gives me one of his bear hugs and won’t let me leave his bed. I look forward to seeing T.J. and knowing that he will sit by me again, regardless of how uncool I may be.
They give me a tangible taste of the abundant, selfless, sincere, love that God has for me. So often, I struggle to comprehend God’s love for me, but my encounters with these guys remind me. They stir something deep in my spirit and it pulls me in. I’m powerless against it and I’m glad, because I’m afraid I would run if  I could. Thank God for gravitation.


  1. I have been thinking of Caedmon every day since I left. I miss him so much! Can’t wait to see more pictures and hear how he finished up his last week.

  2. Ryan I too am orbiting Caedmon and am irresistibly drawn to how he makes me feel closer to God when I am around him. When we went to Disney with the family, i could see hear and feel his unrestrained joy and happiness. That was extraordinary and worth more to me than anything in this world. At one point when we were all walking together, I got a keen sense of the strength and bond of your family when Andrew took my hand and decided that we should be buddies riding some of the rides together, I guess what im trying to say is just thank God every day for your family and i can never forget how knowing you folks has enriched my life. Thanks Ryan!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s