Thursday, October 17, 2013

Love: A Perception

Here are two articles: The first is in honor of Down Syndrome awareness month. It is the story of 6 amazing Down Syndrome people who are changing the world's perceptions of Down Syndrome. The second is about a very poor village where there was a slum built on a landfill. The people discovered a violin in the trash and were inspired to build instruments out of trash. Music has changed the lives of these people.

These stories are touching and inspiring, but for me they raise some unsettling questions about our natural perceptions of people. These people are being noticed because they are stand-outs. They are being commended and lauded for their abilities or their beauty or their gifts. But what about those people who aren't amazing? What about those people who aren't beautiful? What about those poor people who can't make instruments out of trash? What if these Down Syndrome people didn't amaze or inspire anyone? What would I do? Probably overlook them… 

It is not how amazing a person is or how beautiful a person is that imparts their worth. Their Creator gave them their worth. They were made in the image of God. Even the most ugly and unloveable among us. We do not have the right to abort a child… No matter who that child is or becomes. We have an obligation to look after the poor and the weak and the forgotten. Even if they can give us nothing in return. Even if they are not lovely. Whatever or whoever they are, we are called to love them.

All of the law and the prophets, Jesus said, is summed up in this: Love God and love people. That is the single most difficult thing in the universe to honestly and genuinely do!! I know it is for me. I am naturally very selfish. I tend to ask what people can do for me. If they can't do anything for me, I tend to overlook them.

Which brings me to my last article. This really challenged me and I hope and pray it challenges you, too. A disabled child--even a severely disabled child such as one with anencephaly--is still a child. And carrying a child to term--even a child who is sure to die shortly after birth--is an act of hospitality and love towards a very weak and dependent neighbor.