It is reported in Britain that ninety percent of parents who learn through prenatal testing that they are carrying a Down’s syndrome child will have that child aborted (www.thetablet.co.uk). Apparently this wiping out of an entire lot of people happens all over the world. Looking through the lens of eternity, seeing that God makes all things, all creatures, with intention and purpose, there is a natural concern of what might be happening to society by this overt “meddling” in the lives of a certain class of persons. God creates Down’s syndrome children. He deliberately wills their existence, and since He continues to create them, it is clear that He knows that we need Down’s syndrome children in society.
I have known a handful of Down’s syndrome persons in my life, and what stands out when I think about them is the incomparable joy they possess. Besides this radiant joy, they possess other qualities that can only be described as “other worldly.” First, without exception, they consistently look at others with total love, and seem to ignore any considerations as to whether said persons are worthy of such adoration.
Second, they greet the world and life with appreciation and excitement, which can possibly be attributed to staying in a fixed childhood. And, their excitement and appreciation of the world is contagious. They enter a house and the old-souls there are instantly brought back to the playgrounds of youth.
Yes, the families of such children, are required to care for these beloveds their entire lives. Yes, the state might have to foot the bill when there is no family. The Down’s person might make a bit of money at a job, but they will never be high-powered executives or leaders of the free world, but…this leads to another question: when did we begin to value people based on their potential earnings? Why do we eliminate a person, because he or she will not grow into what we deem to be a proper adult? It seems extremely utilitarian.
A priest friend of ours once remarked that a kindly person suggested to him that he would one day see his Down’s relative healed in heaven and made whole, to which he promptly replied, “No, in heaven we will be like her.”
The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to children such as these.
May our entire view of life be changed so that these precious souls might live and thrive among us.
We need them to remember what Love is, what appreciation is, what trust is, what belief in God is, what excitement there is in the creative world around us….actually, to remember the mysteries we once knew in childhood, but have forgotten.
As a final thought, even if Down’s syndrome children gave us nothing, if they did not remind us of the mysteries of life, we would still need them, and they would still be worthy of life and love.
Wishing their existence because of all of the good they give to society is getting a bit utilitarian, and that is something we wish to avoid, but the aim is to show what we gain by their existence with the hope that they would be valued and loved, as they are, as God created them to be, which is like all of us: good and beautiful.