Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Compassion and Pity: We have experienced both. For the most part, we have felt genuine compassion from others when they have been faced with our childrens disabilities. The profound nature of Isaac's disability has brought with it a new dimension that has been unexpected. We thought we had seen it all.
As an infant (or more accurately a toddler who doesn't toddle), Isaac and his disability seem to illicit compassion. Standing with a screaming baby in my arms at the Emergency Room evokes compassion. The others waiting in the ER, the receptionist, the nurses share looks of kindness and concern. Their own personal experiences are not so far from ours with Isaac--they can relate. They have held a crying baby that isn't easily consoled. They sense that something is different about this child because the gap of what is normal and what they see before them is not that wide...they are able to stay with in a comfort zone that is familiar to them. And they are able to show compassion.
But, I wonder, what the next years will hold. I see, too, the looks of pity. When Isaac is four years old and the wheelchair and the medical equipment that comes with Isaac to the park far outweighs the little boy that will still be in my arms--will that illicit compassion or pity? When the gap has widened so far that it is clear to all that this child isn't just disabled, but profoundly so...will others be able to hide their look of pity? They don't mean to feel what they feel, but in one glance, their own reality is challenged. What seems like something that is so far away from their own reality, is staring them in the face. Will they be thinking--"I could never handle that?" Out of their own fears, they will show sadness, anxiousness....pity. Those who show pity are not uncaring, unkind people--not at all. They are the uninformed, the fearful, the well meaning.
Reality is, Isaac will not always look so "beautiful" to the world. Even now, small children notice that his head is "too small." They see he can not move his body or hold up his head. We are programmed for symmetry. We expect people to have similar characteristics and when those norms are challenged deep within our brain by an uncommon difference, we can't help but notice. Isaac's brain is not growing. That means his skull will not be pushed out and his head will be so much smaller than his body (microcephaly.) I know that Isaac will always be an incredibly beautiful child...but will others lose sight of his preciousness, his beauty..his infinite worth? Will they only see the disability and not the child of God?
at 10:08 AM