Music Monday: “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion

Music Monday: “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion


Preparing for Valentine’s Day, this song came to mind. Though I realize the song lyrics are geared toward romantic relationships, I believe anyone can relate to the song’s sentiment of being loved unconditionally. After all, that’s something we all want… Don’t we?? To be loved just as we are, no questions asked. Don’t get me wrong, I know my parents love me, but it’s different knowing that you have someone other than your family by your side to support you and walk through life with you. I’ve been blessed to experience this type of connection early in my middle school years, albeit we did not have the “Happily Ever After” I had imagined.

Let me explain.

I participated in the first inclusion program for people with disabilities in Baltimore, Maryland. This program helped mainstream students with various disabilities into the public school system, showing the world what people with disabilities were capable of and giving us a chance to socialize with regular students. Despite getting mainstreamed for a few of my classes, I still spent most of my time in the “special Ed” room- a homeroom of sorts where we could work on assignments or chat amongst ourselves.

It’s That’s where I met Shane.

Shane had achondroplasia-a form of dwarfism. According to Merriam Webster, Shane’s disease was a genetic disorder that disturbed the normal growth of his cartilage; this resulted in an average 8-year-old torso with significantly shortened limbs. Yet, he intrigued me with bright red hair and a contagious smile. How could someone with such a severe illness enjoy life, I wondered? But, in getting to know him, I realized that a disability only limits someone if given a chance.

Over the next few days, a friendship quickly blossomed. It started with simple conversations regarding our likes and dislikes and became more serious as time went on. I learned about Shane’s affinity for country music (especially Garth Brooks) while he learned to appreciate my love for reading & writing. Even more important than that, there was an undeniable comfort level between us -knowing that we each had a disability and didn’t have to explain ourselves. We still had deep conversations talking about our daily life struggles; for Shane, it was his difficulty speaking because of a lack of oxygen, and mine was the inability to relate to other students in my mainstream classes.

Interacting with Shane made me realize there’s more to life than academics. Though it was important to prove myself during class, I somehow forgot to have fun. With him, things were just so easy. He got me to relax a little bit more in school and talk about what bothered me; this opened me up to try different things in my classes that I wouldn’t have tried before.

In 1993, I moved to Michigan and lost touch with Shane. I tried to keep in contact with him the three years after moving. I didn’t know his phone number, so I often called Mrs. Bailey, our 5th-grade teacher, to get an update on his condition. In the spring of 1996, my father had called for me to check on his progress, and she said that Shane had died. I was heartbroken and cried for days on end. I refused to call and get the details.

Where was I going with this? I’m sorry if it seems like a “memorial blog” to Shane; I never intended it to be like that. I guess what I’m trying to get at is this:

1.   Appreciate the people around you. Whether you believe it or not, God has placed these people in your life for a reason. They could be in your life to teach you something about your life or simply give you a change in perspective.

2.   Even though you may want a physical relationship with “someone special,” it is essential to remember you have that already with God. He is your Creator; he made you. As Christians, we crave connection of the physical kind and emotional kind. Why? Because we were created for more than this world

PS. I still think of Shane every time I hear this Celine Dion song. I know it’s strange considering I was so young, and there was no intimacy involved, but he was the first person (besides my parents) to really see beyond the disability and see me as a person. 

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