Extracted from the October 8 reading in Living Faith by Terri Mifek:
"I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart in the company and assembly of the just." -- Psalm 111:1
"One of the more persistent obstacles to lifting my heart and mind to God is the incessant stream of negative thoughts that enter my mind the minute I walk into church. Left unchecked, they quickly become the center of my attention, and I stop appreciating the good things that surround me. Instead of feeling an expansive love, I grumble within about the shortcomings of everything from the person presiding at the liturgy to my fellow worshippers. As a result, I am unaware of God's presence in the noisy family next to me or the weary-looking woman in front of me.
"When I fall under the spell of the tyrannical perfectionist within, all I can do is pray for an open heart and ask for the ability to see with the compassionate eyes of God. More often than not, I begin to notice the ordinary kindnesses that speak so profoundly of God's attitude toward us. Suddenly I see God's patience and tenderness reflected in the young father's tolerance toward his squirming toddler and the middle-aged daughter's gentleness with her aging mother.
"Lord, help us to see as you see."
"...if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?" -- Mother Teresa
A FEW WEEKS AGO, the local papers reported that a 47-year-old businesswoman had sued her doctor for medical negligence, claiming that he failed to advise her to undergo pre-natal testing and did not diagnose the foetus as having Down's syndrome. She is claiming about $700,000 in damages from the doctor and his practice for breach of contract -- for having failed to carry out his duty of care owed to her. As a result, she carried the pregnancy to term instead of having and exercising the option to abort the foetus.
A number of us discussed the issue online for a while. We sympathised with the mother's plight. But as E. put it, "... to name her "defective" son as a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit that essentially says "You are too inconvenient in my life and I wish you'd never been born"???"
I wonder whether the plaintiff might change her mind if she had watched one of the last episodes of The Guardian on Hallmark channel about a month or more ago. Monica, the girlfriend of protagonist lawyer Nick Fallon, was pregnant and tested positive for Down's syndrome. Nick's first response was, "How much time do we have (to abort the baby)?" However, as Nick came to know a real human being with such syndrome through his imposed volunteer work, he learnt that such people can also can be quite lovable in their own ways -- they can have quite normal emotions, hobbies, dreams and even a sense of humor. With his perceptions changed, he finally told Monica, "I want to be a father (even if my child is going to need lots of help)."
Later discussed this matter with a colleague. Was reminded of an ex-colleague who has a Down's syndrome son and an exceptionally smart daughter. How lovingly she had spoken of her son to almost everyone she met, how she had taped her conversations with both son and daughter since their childhood, how she often went back during lunch time to prepare food for her son, how he loved listening to classical music, how much her son and daughter loved each other....
What a world of difference a different attitude makes!
(See also Attitude Is A Choice and Attitude: Choose the best one you can!)
"...life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it." -- Charles Swindoll
At LRSS yesterday afternoon, J. gave a moving testimony -- how her family had become so fired up with love for the word of God since the scripture study sessions began at St Ignatius about two years ago; how her son had been diagnosed with diabetes around the same time, but had borne the pain so bravely and prayerfully all these while; how family, relatives and friends had rallied around the boy to pray with him and to support him.
Yes, it had been a most painful trial. But with the right attitude (trusting in the Lord's love and providence), it had also been a period of grace and spiritual growth for the boy and all who loved him.
Another Down Syndrome story, from the October 20 reading in Our Daily Bread:
"In high schools in the US, being elected homecoming queen is a great honor for any young woman. But when a high school near Houston, Texas, crowned Shannon Jones, it was a special moment for her and for everyone in the community. Nineteen-year-old Shannon, who is an award-winning athlete and an active member of her church youth group, has Down syndrome.
"Shannon knew this once-in-a-lifetime experience was a gift from her younger sister Lindsey, who was the catalyst to elect her. Their dad said, "I'm so proud of Lindsey. Probably somewhere in the back of her mind, this is something she'd like to do." But she made it happen for Shannon. "