I recently heard of Rick Santorum's comments regarding his daughter Bella that "She is worth every tear." And I was also recently introduced to Virginia Ironside's interview last year.
(I was considering stopping right here and hitting "publish post," because they speak for themselves, but I have swirling thoughts and that's what a blog is for, right?)
I had my teenagers read both. They were moved by the one and shocked by the other (Can you guess which?), but I wanted them to see the ugliness of The Other Side. One boy even asked how God could love someone like that. All I could do was point him to II Peter 3:9 (In word-perfect King James, of course, because that's how I memorized it.) :
The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness ; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
Then an eavesdropping younger one said this :
I'm glad I'm not God. I wouldn't want to love her.
I thought about launching into "preach mode" but instead weakly stated something like We'll Add Her to Our Morning Lineup of Bad People To Pray for (Along with our president. Ahem.). The responses included varying levels of eye-rolling, head shaking, and face-wincing but I let it go.
Back to my swirling thoughts and another link :
This story is heartbreaking as well, and with lots of Holy Scripture (Thank you, Simcha.). The crux of the matter here is The Cross. The cross that we are all called to take up. Too many people are ashamed of it and noone wants to take one up. It's all about my happiness, man. If my cross happens to be a disabled child, then kill the little one in utero (Or smother it.). If a disabled spouse, then divorce and marry again. Maybe unfulfilled sexual longings. Maybe poverty. But the Church says that we must uphold the Cross of Christ, however it is manifested in our lives. Even glory in it. See the glory in the life of Rick and Karen Santorum as they celebrate Bella and ease her pain? See the glory in the life of Virginia Ironside? Mmmm.
Our Church teaches The Truth, which includes the sanctity of life. We don't have to understand it completely ; that's what a mystery is. But it makes us better. Those of us with a Diagnosis, especially our child's, do get to that point. We can eventually say, like the Santorums, "Bella makes us better." Does that mean there are no tears? Does that mean that we hang our heads and do nothing to ease pain and beautify our world? Heavens, no.
Up on the page, Mother's Help, there's a devotional / rosary I wrote, in my quest to be closer to the Blessed Mother. The first point is the calm acceptance of a difficult thing. In our case, cystic fibrosis. A genetic, life-shortening condition that casts a 1:4 shadow over every pregnancy. A cross. I don't want it. I don't want to carry it. I don't want my son to carry it. But I'm not going to kill him to "ease his pain", Ms. Ironside. Or mine. I want to be better. I want Heaven. It's worth every tear.
Rick Santorum and Bella, of course.
Rees and me (He's going to kill me when he sees this 4 year old