My son and I have a daily routine of eating breakfast together while I also try to read my Bible and a chapter of a Christian book.
I use the word try because while I’m trying to read, Josh is trying not to interrupt me. He has access to me all day long, so it’s good for him to learn not to interrupt. He just hasn’t learned it yet.
This morning he was discussing his desire to buy a black car, in which he will drive to the next state to see our old neighbors, his best friends from childhood. After a little while, he segued into his plans to get married and have a baby boy and baby girl. (We’ve heard this lecture more frequently since his first nephew was born last fall.)
We listen to him talk about his plans all the time. Without the right mindset it can be quite depressing, because he’s not ever going to be able to buy a car (most people with Down syndrome can’t drive, and he’s not able to hold down the kind of job, i.e. most jobs, that would allow him to save up for a car anyway). As for becoming a parent, even if he had the maturity to be a parent, which he doesn’t, he’ll never have the ability because men with Ds are sterile.
And yes, these facts have depressed me in the past and occasionally still do. The irony of this morning is that the book I’ve been reading after my daily devotions is Heaven by Randy Alcorn, and check out what was in today’s chapter:
Joni Eareckson Tada writes from her wheelchair, “I haven’t been cheated out of being a complete person—I’m just going through a forty-year delay, and God is with me even through that. Being ‘glorified’—I know the meaning of that now. It’s the time, after my death here, when I’ll be on my feet dancing.”….God is big enough not only to fulfill your dreams but also to expand them as you anticipate Heaven. When you experience disappointment and loss as you faithfully serve God here, remember: the loss is temporary. The gains will be eternal. Every day on the new Earth will be a new opportunity to live out the dreams that matter most.
I believe in God, not coincidences, so I know this specific passage turning up in my reading while my son was expounding on his future (impossible) plans is God reminding me that while there are many things my son will not be able to do on this earth, he will not be hampered by his disability in the next life.
I find this very comforting, and I hope other parents of kids with developmental disabilities find it comforting, too. But it also applies to parents of kids who don’t achieve their dreams: parents of the lovely young woman who dreams of the satisfaction of marriage and children but never finds a good man to share that dream with, or parents of bright young people with promising futures who suffer brain injuries in accidents and are left seemingly a shadow of their former selves.
It’s so easy to get caught up in an earthly perspective that makes you view everything in terms of now, but the book Heaven is reminding me that my perspective’s timeline is much longer than merely “now.” Great book, by the way; many thanks to my husband for recommending it to me.