Saturday, March 24, 2012

Our Only Begotten Daughter

Like the aligning of distant planets prior to a cosmic event, bits and pieces of a revelation concerning Kimani line up inside my head.

For a long, long time I have wanted to know for what purpose it serves God to have allowed Kimani to get meningitis. There is no answer that satisfies. And since those cursed days of July 2008, I wander... lost in sorrow and anger.

Recently I heard an interview with musician Jeremy Camp where he talks about his wife’s attitude toward her terminal cancer. He recounts that she said, “If my situation brings one person to God, then it is all worth it.” The bitter voice inside my head replied, “Yeah, but would you say that if it was your child?”

I couldn’t.

The interview left me with that sole thought... what about when its your child instead of you. What Christian can answer me that?

Holding the book One Thousand Giftsin my hands, I read Ann Voskamp’s initial answer, “No, God, Your plans are a gutted, bleeding mess and I didn’t sign up for this and You really thought I’d go for this?” and a tear splashes down darkening a small spot on the page. I have been saying that very thing to God.

I have been saying no. I have been screaming NO! I have taken a stance, “No God, there is nothing, no reason good enough for letting Kimani be brain-damaged by meningitis.” In my anger, I have shown how ungrateful I am.

It is written in Genesis (a book I was made to reread this week for a class I am taking) that God said to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori'ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." Gen. 22:2. For those of you who aren’t up on Genesis, Abraham went but God spared Isaac at the last minute. In modern times who would obey that call from God to accept that their own child is the sacrifice? Not me.

Except for one little problem. It is already done, and my refusal of this as part of God’s plans for me has ruined our relationship. I can no longer participate in the Eucharist, the “Thanksgiving”, the communion with God. I am not able to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” as instructed in 1Th 5:18.

I ask myself, “Is she no longer a reason to bow down in thankful praise?” That is the message I got from Ann... that the way back begins with “Thank you.”

So today I begin my journey back, “Thank you God for her beautiful blue eyes.”


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Through the Window

As I stand at my dresser rummaging through the top drawer for a pair of socks, I see you walking up our long driveway, unaware of me. You have on jeans, a black tee-shirt, and a cap facing backward. Well beyond a 5 o’clock shadow is creeping toward your goatee, and your long hair is tied back in a waving ponytail.

In this moment I see you the way some stranger, some other woman might see you... strong and sexy, competent and wild. The fifty yards and window panes that separate us have the power to suspend fifteen years of my life, and I begin to ache for you... a you I barely remember.

Without thinking, I put my hand up flat against the window as if it were possible to reach through it and touch the past. I am surprised at how cool the glass feels against my palm, cold like my heart.

If I left you now, I do believe I would spend the rest of my life searching for that man in the driveway.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

You Might Be a Redneck

As Jeff Foxworthy likes to say, “You might be a redneck if... you eat naked ‘cept for yer undies and you rest yer feet up on the table.”


Or, you might be a redneck if you eat naked ‘cept for yer undies, rest yer feet up on the table, and scoop mouthfuls of spaghetti off yer belly.”


You can bet my pretty little redneck got a nice bubble bath after dinner tonight.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Advocacy Hurts

I have begun making an effort again to speak up when I read things about Down syndrome that are untrue... stereotypical cliches that get passed around to fill article space. But after just a few days back at it, I remember that it really hurts to engage with strangers who think the people I love are worthless.


For the longest time I had to stop reading the articles and posts that appeared in my “Down syndrome” Google alert. Eventually I just stopped the feed because reading what others nonchalantly write about people with Down syndrome is just so painful.


To believe them would be to believe that my children won’t grow up to be adults. They don’t have potential. They may end up in group homes, in which case it would have been more humane to abort them before they were born. My children are suffering, and they are burdens on me and my husband, my other children, my extended family, my community, and my country.


When I read things like that scattered here, there, and everywhere, I can’t help but want to say, “No, no that isn’t right. It isn’t that way. You’re being unfair and creating negative perceptions that have effects on people.”


But if I open my mouth, I am told to STFU. If I don’t shut the F up, I am mocked and put in my place, and invariably someone will point out that,

“not everyone with Downs grows to be an adult and is successful, it can be very dibilitating.”

(Yeah, because some people with “Downs” grow up to be, I don’t know, aliens maybe?)


And you can’t argue with that. I know you can’t because I have a child with Down syndrome who might not ever hold a job, fall in love, or leave home (until I die and she has to be put in a group home). I could say that it isn’t the Ds that makes her this way, but you could say she would not have contracted meningitis if not for having a heart defect related to her Ds that kept her in the NICU and started the downward spiral.


But I love her.

Did you catch that? She may be low-functioning, and difficult at times, but I love her. She may never learn to read and write. She may never stop throwing things. She may never grow up to be like anybody else, but I love her.


“It might be alright for you, but not everybody feels that way. Not everybody was cut out for that life.”

Really? I cannot imagine the woman who could have birthed her and raised her thus far who would not love her. It is for everybody, love that is.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Random Kyiv

I fall in love with places so easily, and Kyiv Ukraine was no exception. Lately I have been hearing it calling to me, “Come back to me, come back...” It actually hurts to think rationally that I will never spend weeks straight there again.






For Dee...




And I miss the shoes...