Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Who is special?
"Penny is both created in God's image and fallen from grace—like everyone else," Amy Julia Becker writes about her daughter with Down Syndrome for Christianity Today . "By giving me a new understanding of God's view of perfection, Penny has offered us a way to participate more fully in the body of Christ as Being fully human implies understanding ourselves as creatures," she wrote. "A major aspect of recognizing my humanity meant recognizing that I am vulnerable, needy, dependent, and limited. Just like my daughter."
This quote literally blew my mind. I admit, I've been obsessed with quotes recently. I've-been pinning them constantly, imagining painting and crocheting them as part of the decorating schemes in my head. But this quote was one the first one I made my status on Facebook.
It changed the way that I see my job, it changed the way that I see my kids, it changed the way I see myself. I'm a speech language pathologist. I love my job, because I love to teach and work with people, and I feel like I'm making difference in this world, I'm helping these poor kids with disabilities, but after reading this quote I realize that we all have disabilities, whether others see them immediately, and label us in their heads or on an IEP, whether we realize or never realize our limitations ourselves. The Biblical truth is : We cannot do it all.
Five years ago when I was pregnant with my bonus baby,a child longed and prayed for and conceived before I was 34. ( after all I do work in special Ed), at our 20 week ultrasound we were told that the baby had heart calcifications. The ultrasound room was silent as the radiologist measured the baby and questioned me and my husband about our ages and bloodwork. The last words I remember him saying is that the findings put us at risk for the baby being born with Down Syndrome.
I was devastated. I cried the whole way home, but somehow managed to talk to my friends about it in the month we had to wait for another ultrasound. In that time, I tried to reimagine my life as a apparent of a special needs child. Perhaps I'd have to quit my job to drive him/her to various therapies, fend off the questions about my child on the playground, and balance the attention that my other two kids wanted with the needs of my "special child." These are things that I see the parents of my students do every day, as a look at them and say to myself, "wow, that must be difficult."
I imagined myself the martyr, a willing and loving mom who would do anything for her child. I never imagined that I too am a vulnerable, needed, limited, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend, child of God. all of the people who love me anyway recognize my limitations and here I am thinking that they are the lucky ones to have ME. Wrong wrong wrong. I thank them for loving me despite my temper, impatience, abruptness, vanity, etc.... i could go on and on. More than anything I thank the one who knows more of my weaknesses than any other, yet loves more than any other.
Maybe God didn't think I was ready for this lesson 4 years ago, when needy, dependent, loud, funny yet rebellious Wilomina Grace Dixit was born without Down Syndrome. Perfect in the eyes of the doctors and nurses and her parents and family. But she is imperfect in the eyes of God. I think of what great knowledge that I missed out on by not having that experience of what surely would have been a blessing in disguise. At least now, and I hope forever, when I look at a child or an adults who is may be classified as an "individual with a disability" I see myself.