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Sarah Stup: A new, exotic garden

by Mary Mazzoni on March 17, 2012

“To send out messages of hope and understanding is what I need to do to help build a new, exotic garden where two worlds meet and differences are not feared.”   -Sarah Stup

Walter Brueggermann says that “the poet/prophet is a voice that shatters settled reality and evokes new possibility.”

This is what Sarah Stup’s poetry and essays do for me.

Sarah’s is a silent voice, come alive through writing. She speaks clear and true of her own experience.

When I listen, space opens in me. I am more free to see and hear and be present. “Settled reality” yields to exotic garden. Where difference is savored, personhood is honored, and meeting is possible.

Beyond roles and labels

Roles can limit how we see and hear and experience one another. Parent. Child. Teacher. We can further limit our experience by adding labels. “Disabled”. “Uncooperative”. “Overprotective”.

Is there room for surprise? For possibility? For genuine meeting and collaboration?

Might the “disabled child” teach, or the “overprotective parent” risk growth?  Could the “uncooperative teacher” reach out genuinely?

Indeed, if we are open and present, might we learn to know each person more fully?

Or, are we forever stuck. Experiencing and relating to one another only through our limiting roles and labels.

Through her writings, Sarah intimately shares her experience of autism. Her experience of life. She generously offers the gift of herself. And in doing so, she opens for me windows of possibility. For fresh and real presence with all people and all of life.

Are your eyes listening?

You can learn more about Sarah’s poetry, essays and children’s books by visiting her website here.

My own copy of her collection “Are Your Eyes Listening?” is well-worn. It breathes grace into my days, often opening my eyes to listen anew.

Hope’s ingredients

Also on her website, Sarah offers a free Powerpoint for an interactive life planning experience called Hope’s Ingredients. Sarah developed this with the ARC of Frederick County, Maryland. The session invites young people with disabilities to consider together their own unique passions, hopes and plans for their future.

There is also a section on Sarah’s site with information about autism and resources for parents and teachers.

“Hope troops along through stop signs” – Sarah Stup

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Photograph by John Hess

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