Monday, September 22, 2008
A real life metaphor
This past week in church, my pastor, Dr. Gary Inrig, related the story of a man who saved his son who had fallen into a septic tank. The story might not typically get someone's notice except for the fact that the adult son who fell into the septic tank was a man with down's syndrome and the man who saved his son, sacrificed his own life so that his son could live (see Washington Post story here). Thomas Vander Woude apparently held his son's head above the sewage water by somehow holding him on his shoulders or in some other way holding him up, while sacrificing his own life in the process.
My pastor used this story as a beautiful illustration of Christ coming to Earth (diving into a septic tank) in order to save those who were there, and ultimately sacrificing His own life to save ours. I will allow you to fill in the blanks relative to other aspects of the metaphor. But I was thinking more about the value this father put on the life of his son with down's syndrome.
At the moment it is reported that 90% of children who are prenatally diagnosed as having down's syndrome are aborted. Without getting political, that is one reason that Gov. Sarah Palin's decision to give birth to her son with down's syndrome is actually quite remarkable. By that act, she places herself among the 10% of other women who were in that position and chose life.
But even more interesting, more worthy of consideration is that here is a man who after 20 years with a son with down's syndrome saw his son's life as important enough that he would sacrifice his own life so that his son could live. It is a very powerful example to people who would make "decisions" about the lives of others, when they know little or nothing about those lives. I am not just talking about parents, but more those in the medical profession and those in pro-choice organizations both of whom probably have never had a cup of coffee with a person with down's syndrome, or watched a ball game with someone to get to know them as persons. However, doctors may be quick to advocate for the prevention of their lives through abortion. If people really want to understand what disability is, they need to get with people with disabilities themselves as well as with people like parents and friends who really know them well.