I apologize for stretching out this story. I have done a real job on my back, and it is taking me five times longer to do any job, so preparation for Thanksgiving was precarious at best, cooking yesterday was difficult, and then we threw in the "cat's accident." I am still entertaining a houseful at dinner time, so I pray that I have the grace to hold up under pressure.
I also got a little bit of "cold blogger's feet" after I posted Part I. I felt sure I had offended readers and would offend more. But you know the Edmund Burke quote, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."
There is also, "No one could make a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
And, "An event had happened, upon which it is difficult to speak, and impossible to be silent."
It seems Edmund Burke and I were quite of the same mind.
So, if you read Part I of my story, you know that I learned early on in my motherhood that striving for some form of perfection is not only impossible, but dangerous. Likely it's a concept perfect by old hairy legs -- "must not have anything that is not perfect." When we seek perfection, we are disappointed, for nothing is perfect, except God. We can strive to be like God,
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1
but to strive for perfection is prideful. This is a lesson I have to learn every day, but fortunately it is a thought that is very close to the surface of my consciousness, so I remember it often. It is our nature to want perfection, in one way or another. We all have a different idea of what should be perfect.
I believe our faith in God is what dictates our perfect ideals. Clearly my my neighbor (Part I) thought her child should be perfect, and having the life of her child was not worth risking any form of imperfection. Better to be dead than imperfect, right? That sounds cruel, but it's true. If that makes you angry, I can only remind you that the first response to truth is anger.
As a mother of 24 years I certainly have learned that a child imperfect at birth is merely facing the first of an abundance of imperfections discovered throughout life. We become imperfect right off the get-go, most of us. And in fact, most of us are not even perfect at birth, even those who look perfect, according to some human idea of "looking perfect." (We're all perfect in our parent's eyes, thank goodness.) Our genetics give us predispositions for all kinds of imperfections, from life-threatening allergies to life-ending high cholesterol. Those are just the hidden imperfections.
Which brings me to the reason I started writing this "story." I picked up a book last week, and it offended me so greatly I ended up in tears, closed the book, and will never read anything from the author again, not a blog post or a best-seller. I have decided not to tell you who the author is, nor the title of the book, nor mention her daughter's name. She is a well-known blogger, especially for the topic which she wrote the book about, and if you have read the book, then you know. But, if you haven't, you might accept the truth (or what is written as truth in her book) better not knowing too much background.
The author's story is about the birth of her daughter, a baby with Down Syndrome. The author did not know in advance of her daughter's birth that she would have Down Syndrome, and she was stunned to learn the truth at her daughter's birth. I had read the author's writings on her blog about her daughter's birth, about the surprise, and about her subsequent acceptance of the condition. The blog posts I have read, however, don't even touch the depth of her grief at the birth of an "imperfect" child. I only read the blog a few times, however, and maybe she did divulge the whole story and I missed it. The book really gets into it.
Long story short, the author goes into quite a bit of detail about how many friends she has, how perfect her life is, how wonderful her husband is, how darling, how perfect, her first daughter is. She tells how her friends came to her, and supported her when she was at the hospital, brought her food, gifts, stayed with her all night long while she cried, and cried, and cried, and apparently said things she never said to anyone before or since. She cried when she spoke to her family on the phone, over and over. She cried each time a new friend came and she experienced the newness of the diagnosis (which at that time had not even been formally diagnosed). She cried and cried, and said she was so sad, over and over and over.
I finally decided I would be the friend who said, "Ok sister, your five minutes of crying is up. Now pick up your baby, love her, and thank God for the beautiful gift that she is, or I'll take her home and make her mine." In other words, I would not be her friend, I think.
The author talked a lot about how she loved going shopping, eating out, playing and cooking with her perfectly beautiful little first born daughter, living a rather glamorous and rather wealthy life. She loved things, it became very clear, the farther I got into the book. She loved pretty, perfect things, and it is very clear from the moment her daughter was born, that, at least early on, immediately after her daughter was born, she did not find her daughter to be either. She mourned the loss of the daughter she thought she was having. She kept saying she wanted to go back in time to the time before her daughter was born -- when she still thought she would be so perfect. She mourned events of the future that she would not be able to experience because her daughter was "imperfect" -- like the weddings they would each have with each other as the maid of honor, like birthday parties, and like baking sessions and all of the worldly things she imagined would never happen because her baby had Down Syndrome.
Like I said, I closed the book and said, "No more." I understand being stunned because one's child has a serious developmental disability. I truly do. I understand thinking, "Life will never be for that child like it is for everyone else." I do. But I don't believe that mourning the loss of birthday parties and "perfect" relationships is what God wants for us. God wants perfect acceptance of His will.
God is with us at all times. When we are struggling, when life is difficult, when we are faced with challenging imperfections, we are given the grace to handle those situations. We are not given the grace a moment before it is needed.
He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace which he lavished upon us. For he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fulness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him, according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will,we who first hoped in Christ have been destined and appointed to live for the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:5-12
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinithians 12:9And if we choose not accept the grace, we walk alone.
to be continued...