We have committed two special children from our parish to the Lord in these past months. One passed away unexpectedly, the other after a lifetime of struggle and broken health. Both were special kids. All of our Prince of Peace little ones are special, but these particularly so. Life challenged them from the beginning by depriving them of some of the abilities that most children possess.
One child was functional and led an active, interactive life. The other was incapable of walking or most communication.
More importantly, they were both loved. They were loved by their families and by so many others, loved as any one of us would dream of being loved if given the gift of designing our lives.
As we begin October, we celebrate Respect Life Month. As Catholics, we recall that all human life is of God and therefore has value. Every human life reflects something of the person of God, who is pure love. And love is what we can treasure most in this world.
Today, we are surrounded by a relativism which allows us, legally, to call a baby “my child” and rejoice to bring her into the world OR to label an infant “my problem” and dispose of him at will. That option is now promoted with regard to the elderly, the disabled, the seriously ill. People are valuable only as long as they are functional or self-sustaining, free of suffering or not a burden to others.
At the risk of sounding like a greeting card, this subject reminds me of rainbows.
A waterfall has practical value is in its ability to move water from one place to another and to form the earth. The rays of the sun enable the growth of plants, the survival of life on earth, light for creatures to sustain their lives.
Sometimes a waterfall will throw spray into the air in such a way that it intersects the rays of the sun and the two give birth…. to a rainbow.
And what does a rainbow do?
It’s simply there. And yet we find ourselves drawn to it, anxious to gaze at its beauty, own it with our iPhones, turn it into a screensaver.
The gift of special children is that they are rainbows. They don’t seem to be contributing much to the world, and yet they are beautiful. Their beauty comes not from the play of light and color, but in their ability to bring a unique love that would not otherwise exist.
Their families and those they touch hold their child in an ocean of self-giving love. Even in the child’s apparent incompleteness, the family is made complete because they are there.