This was given to us to read by our dear friend Peggy Lamberth shortly after Sara’s diagnosis. This article or part of a book (pages 145-146) helped us to decide to give Sara the chance to experience life instead of palliative care. Thank you Peggy.
7. Celebrate What Is, Not What Should Be
Some of our daughters, and some of us, have broken bodies. Some are born with deformities or bear the consequences of diseases or accidents that have taken away the ability to use their bodies as God intended. Some cannot run or walk or feed themselves. Some cannot see or hear. But even the most disabled have a window that opens their soul to experience the world. My niece, Faith, cannot walk, feed herself, read, or carry on a conversation with another. Yet she can experience the pleasures of sun and wind on her face, see the beauty of creation, relish the sound of music, and feel the joy of human touch. She is a content child who feels loved and expresses love.
Our challenge is to bear the pain of those with broken bodies, to mourn with them, to work with them to enhance their ability to function, to help them experience the joys of life through avenues their bodies leave open to them. Helen Keller, who was both blind and deaf said, “Life is either a daring adventure of nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” We are not only in a position to help people with disabilities, we are also in a position to learn from them. Those with broken bodies who are reconciling themselves to their limitations yet who “behave like free spirits in the presence of fate” have much to teach those of us with more whole bodies who yet struggle with contentment. To live life fully within our limitations is to accept, work with, and celebrate what is.
God created us with limitations. These bodies that house our souls cannot fly or swim underwater indefinitely; we cannot keep them from aging or dying. We cannot grow back a spinal cord that has been broken or an arm that has been severed. We cannot see as well at night as we can during the day; we cannot hear or smell as well as many animals. However, God gave us phenomenal bodies that enable us to do much with our souls. We can worship God by raising our hands and voices in singing or by raking leaves for someone unable to rake his or her own. We can read and study, carry burdens, hold infants, hug. We can build and teach, plant and harvest, mend broken bodies and be God’s tools to mend broken souls.