Wednesday, May 14, 2014

LESSONS FROM CAMP: Scorn For Life

We have become a reproach to our neighbors,
A scorn and derision to those who are around us.
~ Psalm 79:4, NKJV ~

Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.
~ Proverbs 3:34, NKJV ~

Camp.  Most of the time we parents send our kids away to remote locations, praying for their safety and our own peace while they are gone.

However, given the fact that our son is not completely proficient at self-infusing, I have actually traveled as chaperone with his class to a subject-related camp the past two years.  When the students arrive at this 4 day destination, they find themselves in attendance with pupils from other academic locations across the nation.  This places me in direct contact with teachers, chaperones and other adults from these various schools.

This year, I was surprised to encounter one school that actually traveled with their own nurse, which is not typical.  

As you may imagine, when we are in such a situation with complete strangers, we find ourselves subject to many questions, offering a brief course in Hemophilia 101.  As the adults came together for our instructions from the director the first night at camp, my son's diagnosis came up.  While the other teachers and chaperones moved on to the next topic at hand, the traveling nurse probed with questions.

"Did you know there was a risk for that before your son was born?" she asked.

"Yes.  Two of my three nephews have hemophilia," I replied.

"Oh, didn't you do any prenatal testing?"

"Well, my carrier status was inconclusive in those days, so we just proceeded with delivery as if there might be a risk of delivering a child with hemophilia," I answered, foolishly thinking she was concerned about child safety in delivery.

"Oh, because you can do chorionic villi sampling to find those things out now," she stated.

"Sure," I said.  "You could do that when I was pregnant with my son, but we didn't want to risk miscarriage."

"Well, THAT'S interesting," she concluded.

My God!  She was implying I could/should have aborted my son!  My face suddenly tingled with stunned horror.  My gut twisted with repulsion.  Anger burned as my brain ruminated.

I headed back to my cabin, hungry for sleep and fresh perspective, dreading having to spend the remainder of my time there with a person who doesn't find my 14 year old son even worthy of existence.  I prayed, just as Jesus calls me to do.  I shared what happened with others who would admonish me and pray with or for me.

The next morning had its own crises and demands.  Although I initially bristled at this woman's presence, I found myself easing into forgiveness the same way a flower gradually unfolds.  She was hilarious...  And obviously clueless.

The fact is that people like this nurse truly don't see the incongruity of what they espouse.  They are really nice people who have become spiritually numb to sin.  God told us it would be this way.  (See Romans 1:28)  Unfortunately, as culture continues to circle the proverbial drain, more individuals who are in life-saving professions find abortion as a result of suspected chronic illness or disability and even euthanasia morally acceptable.

Mothers like me can make all the difference.  Loving our children publicly and putting their worthwhile lives on display for the world around us to witness can change hearts and minds.  I ended up spending relational time with this nurse while visiting the camp.  We shared conversations and meals and laughter.  As hours passed over our visit, she came to admire my son and how he lived above and beyond his diagnosis.  All she had to do is see him, spend time with him, and his worth was self-evident.

While our "choice" to give life to children who the culture views as disposable may provoke scorn and derision, God assures us in His word that He will return that scorn and derision to them in turn, whereas He'll grant grace to us when we are humble.  If that is the case, then I say bring on the scorn for our choice of life.  I don't regret that choice for a minute.

Oh, the lessons we learn at camp!

PRAY:  Lord, thank You for the strength and reassurance to love those who offend with hurtful disregard for the life of my child.  Thank You for my child and for the grace to parent that child.  I trust in Your ability to either turn the hearts of scorners or to ultimately subject them to the scorn they deserve.  

~ Barb Dittrich

3 comments:

  1. Ah, yes. The well-meaning. I find those folks occasionally - in my line of work, I'm more likely to encounter people praying that Jesus comes for them, and soon. The joy of my job is showing them how valuable their lives are - maybe they don't cook, clean, or have the ability to brush their hair anymore, but their experience, strength, and hope speak volumes. They pray for their families, and that is perhaps the most valuable thing anyone can do!

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  2. Barb,
    This reminds me of my ob (same man who delivered both of my children, 100s of others and is a father and grandfather himself) was talking with me about my strong desire for more children, but the fact that we had decided that we will have to grow our family through adoption rather than risk the 50% chance that our future children would have Mecp2 Duplication syndrome... I wanted to discuss the possibility of embryo adoption (which at that time we were considering through Snowflakes.) He strongly encouraged me to consider becoming pregnant, having a test at 9 weeks, and if the embryo has the duplication, I could have a "simple D&C" which I would feel fine after. Not a difficult procedure at all and it can be done right at St. Mary's in Mequon. (Or any of the non-Wheaton hospitals in the area. He didn't mention this, but later I learned that WFH doesn't allow abortive procedures.) He assured me that my insurance would pay for it. I told doctor that while it might seem like a great choice and like it would solve my great dilemma of wanting more kids, we just don't believe this is right. We believe that this is a BABY. 2 more times in our conversation, he brought me back to this and told me that we ought to reconsider our beliefs about this. Seriously.

    I was feeling very sad and vulnerable when I went to this doctor -reeling from my son's diagnosis and the life of special needs looming ahead. I wanted more children in this all-consuming, desperate way. I would have been so easy for me to choose differently. I don't blame the people who do. But that doesn't make it right. A baby's life is no less valuable because s/he has a gene defect. Every one of us is born with a defect. Sin. The Bible tells us that children are sinful from the time they are conceived. Yet God uses each of us and gives us our time on earth to come to know his Son, our Savior.

    There are so many mind boggling parts of this, but one part that stands out to me is that I spend every day loving and caring for a child who has this syndrome. How on earth can the doctor who delivered him expect me to believe that it would be okay to kill his sibling rather than have him be like Liam? Is my Liam so undesirable that death is better? I think not. And my God agrees. He sent his son for Liam. Liam is worth that much to him!!! How dare anyone imply anything else.

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