I finished Martha Beck's book, 'Expecting Adam' last night. I would put it on my "must read" list for anyone who has children, loves children, works with special-needs kids, or is afraid of special-needs kids. Beck does an amazing job of talking about the life she led while she was Expecting Adam. The book is a true story of her experiences surrounding the pregnancy and birth of her son, Adam, who has Down Syndrome.
But it's more than a sweet story. It is deeply theological. Beck calls into question what it means to be in the presence of the holy. Double-degreed from Harvard, Martha Beck spent her life completely unsure of any sort of divinity. Until she was expecting Adam.
Soak it in.
And share it with someone else.
I leave you with four of my favorite excerpts from this book, just to whet your appetite.
For every old man who invites you outside to smell the bushes, there are at least three obsequious salespeople who will congratulate you on having "such cute little girls," while they look awkwardly past the boy with Down syndrome, trying to pretend he isn't there. The prejudice, sometimes even hostility, can burn like acid. But along with this pain, Adam brought with him a sweetness that surpasses anything I ever felt before he was conceived. It comes from looking at the heart of things, from stopping to smell not only the roses but the bushes as well. It is a quality of attention to life that is so loving and intimate it is almost worship.
Whoever said that love is blind was dead wrong. Love is the only thing on this earth that lets us see each other with the remotest accuracy.
While the surgery proceeded, the Being of Light gently explained to me that I was barking up all the wrong trees. I would not find my way back Home by fasting, it told me, or by meditating, following endless lists of rules, or even dying. All those things might help, given the right conditions, but not unless I was willing to do something much more difficult. ... Instead of clutching around me all the trappings of a "good" person, a "successful" person, or even a "righteous" person, I have to be exactly what I am, and take the horrible chance that I may be rejected for it. I can't get Home by cloaking myself in the armor of any system, social, political, or religious. I have to strip off all that comforting armor and go on naked.
I have discovered that many of the things I thought were priceless are as cheap as costume jewelry, and much of what I labeled worthless was, all the time, filled with the kind of beauty that directly nourishes my soul.