by Rev. Fr. V.V. Paulose, Toronto, Canada
"Yes, one of Jonathan’s sons is still alive. He is crippled in both feet.” (2 Samuel 9:3)
Is It beautiful to be the Parent of a disabled child?
“Then the Lord asked Moses, “who makes a person’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord?" ( Exodus 4:11)
Children are God’s creation and we are only the medium. Parenthood is one of the greatest gifts of God. “Children are a gift from the lord, they are a reward from him.” (Psalm 127:3) The most valuable love of a mother is her children. ”Can a mother forget the baby at her breast?” (Isaiah 49:15)
Children are for love and happiness. They are the precious treasure imbedded in God’s mystery. Parenting is foremost about loving and giving. The fundamental joy of being a parent is not tied simply to good grades, first place athletic ribbons, sophistication, or high paying job. The challenges of rearing disabled children to the parents are immeasurable. But the disabled children embody that mystery of human existence - the mixture of delight and emotional hardship. Modern world expects the perfect child - the designed babies; but they are not there and, if so, are the cold, soulless, loveless singularity (Computerized, intelligent human beings.) Parenting a disabled child is soul searching, heavenly, godly and rewarding - emotionally, physically and spiritually. ”Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly father.” (Mathew 18:10)
By parenting 14 year old Down Syndrome suffering daughter, Clare, her parents say, “they have been honored to have been able to love and take care of Clare.” Her Dad Bernard Marrocco writes, ”a shovel had fallen on my forehead. I staggered in to the house, seething with pain. On seeing my pain Clare came over to me. I received a tender hug, a gentle kiss and a light rubbing on my Wile E. Coyote egg - bump. Though she spoke noting further, I knew she was saying through her ministrations that I was loved. Her birth with disabilities daunted and dismayed us. We held our other children close, and cried. Now she is in Grade 9. What we hadn’t understood was the fruitful bounty she would bring to our family. Clare’s sense of humor is delightful and she is always ready to take part in any adventure. She has a purity of spirit, an openness and kindness that are hidden behind the masks and scars we normal folks bear so enduringly. She is a master of empathy, sensing physical, emotional and spiritual discomfort in others in a way that I cannot. She always finds ways to ease other’s suffering; our grateful family calls her The Healer.”
Please reflect “If you do receive an unexpected prenatal diagnosis, or give birth to a child with down syndrome. Take pause and explore. You might end in Pakistan instead of God’s own country Kerala, but still it will be the start of something beautiful.”
Jesus, we for all the parents with disabled children. Let their homes be the heaven. Let the parents have the strength to take the challenges of parenting the disabled and the spirit to endure the tantrums of their children. Let us love and give to our disabled children. We pray for Clare and her lovely parents. All we ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
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