“The entire law is summed up in a single command: ‘Love yourneighbor as yourself.’”
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
I'll be a witness in the silences
When words are not enough
With every breath I take
I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
Testify to Love ~ performed by Avalon
This column is a continuation from last week when I shared some stories and thoughts we received after the birth of our granddaughter, Katelyn Seraphina. These next several paragraphs came from some of my dear female friends:
First, Katelyn: Oh my, what a gift you've been given. To care for a special spirit is a precious opportunity. So many things are easy in our western world. So many things taken for granted. Special ones slow us down and give us the opportunity for gratitude and humility, and perhaps above all the opportunity to practice kindness, patience, and unconditional love. Congratulations. I hope that some day I can meet Katelyn, or at least see pictures of her life and hear stories of her journey (actually, I'm sure I'll hear stories!). Ask Bev about Christie, a special daughter of friends of hers from North Dakota. I met Christie, who has Downs. She was in her 40's I think when I met her, and absolutely delightful. She was thoughtful and had a great sense of humor, was living on her own in a group home and was very happy. I've also worked with special folks in Alaska, and everyday my heart was warmed and my spirit lifted by young people and adults with developmental (dis)abilities of one sort or another who were moving through their lives with integrity and love.
A friend of mine who has two children with some severe genetic disorders once told me that the most difficult thing for her was that people would not share their good news with her. It made her feel isolated from the party. She does not dwell on the challenges of her day to day. Like the rest of us, she finds ways to celebrate her norms. There are blessings in every day no matter the circumstances. I can see your son’s family is already finding that to be true.
Katelyn can teach all of us about the joys of life; every one of her accomplishments will be a cause for rejoicing and celebrating, and it teaches us that we all too often take healthy children's development for granted.
Eileen, I read your article at work and spilled quite a few tears. I have been worried this past week about the baby and Lisa that something wasn't right, since I didn't hear back from you. I want to say I'm so sorry but those are not the right words. I told you that God sent an angel (Josh) to you to help you make the right decision [about the breast cancer diagnosis]; what I didn't know then is how much of an angel of God he really is. I have always believed that God sends special people to be looked after by special people, and Josh is definitely one of those special people. So the right word is “Congratulations!” And I believe, like Keen, that we all are about to witness a miracle. If you look around at the families that have kids with Down syndrome, those are the families that are the happiest and the closest. I loved the pictures, she is a beautiful baby.
Congratulations on your newest member of the family, another precious baby girl. She will add such a special piece to the "Umbehr puzzle". Another baby to love!!!
Thank you for all the messages this afternoon. Thank you for the pictures of the new little baby, Katelyn. She is a blessing from God and will be there for all of you when it counts the most. God chose her especially for a family whom He knew would do the best for her. All of you will love her with all the love you have to give and teach her to be independent along the way. There will be so many memories, but you'll have to forget the hurting ones and work your way past those. As you remember, I worked in Special Education for almost 19 years and have had a lot of learning experience. Congratulations to all of your family! God certainly knows what He is doing.
Remember what is most important.
It’s not having everything go right, it’s facing whatever goes wrong.
It's not being without fear; it's having the determination to go on in spite of it.
Remember that every day ends and brings a new tomorrow full of exciting new things.
Love what you do, do the best you can, and always remember how much you are loved.
Lisa’s brother Aaron came across a truly inspiring video on the internet about a father and son named Dick and Rick Hoyt. When Rick was born, he was strangled by the umbilical cord leaving him brain damaged and unable to walk or talk. The doctors told his parents that he would be a vegetable and suggested they put him in an institution. But Rick’s parents refused to accept what the doctors said, and they took Rick home to love him and nurture him.
Eventually, Rick was equipped with a computer which he was able to operate by touching a switch with the side of his head. Then when one of Rick’s high school friends was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run, Rick typed: “Dad, I want to do that.” From that moment on, Rick and his father have been participating in marathons and even triathlons. Rick says it’s the only time he doesn’t feel handicapped But he still has one more dream to fulfill: one day he’d like to be the one pushing his dad.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:12-13
(Tissue alert: If you’d like to watch an inspiring video depicting Dick and Rick’s journey, go to www.youtube.com and type “Rick Hoyt” in the search window.)
It’s true that sometimes miracles hide . . . and sometimes they don’t.
We love you, Katelyn Seraphina.
“. . . perfect love casts out fear.” ~ I John 4:18a
A big smile for Great-Grandma Jean (Umbehr)