Reflective Meandering

Thoughts on faith, people, politics, travel, and transition.


This week we celebrated World Down Syndrome Day, and all of the beautiful lives that day represents.

As March 21st came and went, I thought about my grandmother’s brother, Johnny. Johnny was a beautiful man who lived with Down Syndrome. I remember loving Johnny as a child. He was always so joyful and kind. He loved so well – he loved my grandmother and us grandkids, he loved pennies, he loved hamburgers so loaded with condiments he could hardly fit the burgers in his mouth, and he adored Elvis Presley. He could do a pretty good imitation of the King of Rock and Roll, too.

I remember cuddling into Johnny’s lap as a kid and feeling the warmth of his adoration for my cousins and me. He was an absolute pleasure to be around. I only remember Johnny being sad or difficult when he had to leave the presence of his loved ones. Johnny lived a long life and is in heaven now, and I know he is anxiously awaiting a reunion with his loved ones.

I enjoyed reflecting on Johnny and those who share his disability earlier this week, but it also made me sad.

Reminiscing about Johnny pushes me to confront the worst in myself, my pride, my sin. As I reflected, I remembered growing out of Johnny. He was fun to be around when I was young, but as I grew older, I also grew embarrassed in Johnny’s presence. Johnny had Down Syndrome – Johnny looked funny, Johnny walked funny, and Johnny talked funny, and being around Johnny in public was an assault on my pride.

I thought of the women who, flooded with embarrassment themselves, and perhaps a feeling that they could not provide for a child with Down Syndrome, have aborted their babies. I became frustrated with the weight of sin.

I was reminded, “there, but for the grace of God, go I.”

It is devastatingly sad for me to think about how much laughter and joy has been lost to the abortion of unborn babies with Down Syndrome, and that thought makes me miss Johnny more than I’ve missed anyone in a long time.

I wish he were here so I could take him in public and show the world unadulterated happiness and joy, the kind I’ve only seen in people like Johnny, beautiful people with Down Syndrome.

Thursday, March 24th, Indiana became only the second state in the nation to ban abortion because of Down Syndrome, joining only North Dakota. The worst kind of discrimination is the kind that ends in death, even death in the womb.

Leave a comment »