Thump! Thump! Thump! — Thump! Thump! — The basketball ricochets off the backboard resounding like scattershot onto the pavement. Still more thumping intrudes into the evening’s quiet. The basketball skitters around the rim, then swishes the net. The girl scrambles for the ball, hugs it with small hands as a smile whispers her thin lips; but not for long as she continues working the ball on the pavement, eyeing the basket overhead. Again, flatfooted, she shoots, totally engaged in the game, a game she plays with herself. Hours pass.

But this girl is special. Her flat wide face, her slanted eyes, her short neck suggest Down’s syndrome. Yet for several years, she has showed up each evening with her basketball and entered the challenge of the moment.

To the outsider, she appears impaired. Yet her singleness of focus hones her concentration upon the bouncing ball, careening off in angles, rolling out into the street, at times, under parked cars. She retrieves the ball for still another shot, her ponytail flying behind her. Indeed, she plays well. She needs no company.

A simple soul lives among us, precious in God’s sight. As we watch, we learn.