Thursday, January 11, 2007

The Choice To Love

A Mag Diaries Holy Spirit 2007 Award goes to Be Not Afraid , a wonderful website that encourages parents who have received a poor pre-natal diagnosis regarding their pregnancies to continue on with the pregnancy and choose life. It includes some very moving and very beautiful stories and articles, as well as resources to these families who make such a selfless decision. Some of the stories have happy outcomes such as mis-diagnosis or healings. Some of them, like the lovely poem below written by a grandmother, describe peace and faith in God's plan, and joy for gift of life the family has been given, if only for a short time.

Pronounced Anencephalic and Incompatible with Life

A firstborn son belongs to God.
Most can be redeemed, for a price.
But you, Jonathan David--
God snatches you and leaves us
empty-handed, empty wombed, empty-hearted.

We've stormed the throne to buy you back,
Offering our very life for yours.
We've pled before the Judge:
"His life belongs with us.
His parents could know joy, the docters awe.
Our faith would blossom and our love grow bold.

Dear Father, if you had a mind to heal,
You could heal his brain with a word."

But the nurses tell us as they gaze
through walls of flesh, opaque:
"I'm so sorry, but there's no mistake."
They never say it quite, and so we do,
"Jonathan David, you're our Pooh--
our bear of very little brain."

A laugh can ease the pain
and cut encroaching terror into shreds
that only cling like webs.

How gladly we would offer you our cells.
Thousands die each day
And those we keep we throw away.
But our mind cannot be yours.
A fog has settled on our souls.

A voice comes muffled through the darkened shroud.
"Fear not, It is I who have redeemed him.
I've hidden his life with me.
Nursing infants sing my praise.
Before you, Jonathan will have my mind
to think my thoughts after me.
In my wisdom His mind is perfect,
and your grief is power."

And so, dear Jonathan, we will believe.
We will receive and love you as you are;
Most precious to us in your desperate need.

If birth is more than you can bear,
than through our tears we'll sing a lullaby of joy.
For you will go unhindered from the comfort
of your mother's womb
to the safety of our Father's home.

If you linger with us for a fleeting breath or two,
we will count each one and remember you.
Our breaths are numbered, too.

Dear Jonathan,
If God, in mercy, grants you one full hour,
We'll peer a little longer past your mind into your soul.
We'll take your tiny hands in ours,
look upon you long and sing our song.

If life rests with you for a day,
then we will give it back to God
who turns it to a thousand years.

Dear Jonathan,if you are born
sheer miracle, and life should last;
if on this earth you burp and grin and crawl;
then you will groan with us beneath the load of sin
and struggle with the dark within.
But you will smell the lily, touch the head
of a baby sister in her bed.
You will seize the power and the grace of a Savior's love,
who with you forever bears the weight of a past.

Jonathan David,
Life is not incompatible with you.
However long you stay within our reach,
you and life are bound in Jesus' sheaf.
In your new home, you will love as you are loved
and know as you are known.

Life's author stands to greet you,
Impatient, runs to meet you,
"Well-done, good and faithful friend!"
Jonathan, you've served me to the end.

Rebecca Jones
Bereaved grandmother to Jonathan, Rebecca Jones is also a mother, author, and instructor at Westminster Theological Seminary. She and husband Peter are founding members of CWIPP, a Christian culture and education outreach.
Copyright, 2000
July 29, 2000


Blogger The Kitchen Madonna said...

Thank you for this moving post. I am the mother of a mentally handicapped son and I thank God that I did not have the prenatal testing so that someone could question the great worth and dignity of his life. When he was diagnosed, I was in dispair when I read the medical literature. But I tell you, they were wrong about my son. He is a an altar server and people come up to him and to me and thank him all the time for serving the Mass because he is so pure of heart and reverent and joyful. He is inspiring!
Kitchen Madonna

7:55 AM  
Blogger causa nostra laetitiae said...

I am also the mother of a mentally handicapped daughter. Christina, age 4, has Down Syndrome, and thanks be to God,is very healthy at this time, except for that goo. . .
This poem is beautiful, and just what I need to share with one of Christina's therapists who is happy to be pregnant with her third child, yet is already talking about amnio to see if the baby is ancephalatic. She says she couldn't put her children through losing a child, but I know she meant herself. I told her that God would give the children the grace to bear whatever burden life sends, and she looked frightened.

Help me pray for her, and listen to the Lord as He gives me words for her to hear.
Thanks for this poem. Be Not Afraid is a beautiful site, and I have sent them Christina's story.

12:06 AM  
Anonymous monica said...

Oh my goodness! I had no idea that you had blogged this -- it's my first time here, although I do occasionally visit Leticia (many times, but not in the last few weeks) and I've been to the Kitchen Madonna many times, as well.

I love that poem you selected. It broaches the difficult so beautifully, some hope, some humor, some resignation, some, deep faith . . . I wonder sometimes if the parents and authors have any idea how much they affect me, personally -- and their children, as well. It is good for me to read that you feel the same way. Thank you!

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Monica said...

Thanks so very much for this! The poem you chose is my very favorite. It is perfection . . . the tone, the little wrinkle of humor, the faith, the resignation, even. Thank you for mentioning us and it's great to know that you are "out here" reading.

2:42 PM  

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