Monday, December 22, 2008

Because He is Loved

"Kids with Down's are so loving," has been a constant refrain from friends and family as they address Bear's diagnosis. Funny, because 6 weeks ago, I would have said the same thing. Now, however, I realize that too often we take for granted that love is not something that is just assumed or granted simply because of a condition. Down Syndrome does not guarantee lovingness. Bear is no more likely to be loving than any other baby. He will be loving because he is first loved. (This sounds oddly familiar.) How would Bear possibly know what it is to be loving if we first didn't love him? He wouldn't. What we do know about children with DS is that they are more accepting of people and situations because they are not hindered by or burdened with the trivial and petty things that bog us down or keep us from reaching out to others. All it takes for a child with DS is to know that someone or something is good and they embrace that with joy.

The other refrain we keep getting is, "God only gives his 'special' gifts to 'special' people." Now, I've been raised in a Christian home, have gone to church all my life, and still recognize this as Christianese. This makes it sound as though God sits in Heaven and has a quota of babies with Down Syndrome that he must give away each year, so he seeks out only the most deserving couples to give them to (must give credit to Dan for these words). If God only gives his special gifts to special people, then why at Walmart the other day did I see a girl with DS who was obviously unkempt and probably had not been afforded all of the services possible for her? Would society say that her mother was a special person to receive such a special gift? I think not. If my first instinct was to judge that mother, I can only imagine what someone who has not been affected by DS would think.

Isn't it possible that sometimes God just lets life happen?? Dan and I are no more special than my sister and her husband who are expecting and will probably have a "normal" little boy. Why would we assume that we're set apart because God's given us Bear? Isn't it possible that we simply have to arise to whatever life gives us and be faithful in those things? I think God receives more glory in that response than if we say that God's given a special gift to a special couple. That steals the glory from God and places it on Dan and me.
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