Dr. B. spent only a few minutes describing his thoughts on Down Syndrome, but Chappy and I have spent days discussing those memorable moments.
The doctor's cowboy hat now in hiding, Dr. B. the grandfather to Seth, a little boy bearing an extra chromosome, softly spoke: "I have spent countless hours considering how Down Syndrome fits into Evolutionary thought" , hand now on chin and eyes looking away as if trying to recall specific hypotheses he had drafted in a mental list now tucked away, he explained: "according to Evolution, only the strong survive....and obviously, since Down Syndrome has been among us for many, many years, there must be a reason."
Chappy and I wanted to interrupt this larger-than-life man, to debate Evolution vs Creationism; however, we bit our tongues and listened intently as he continuted:
"I have actually written about this very subject; in fact, one of the most read articles I have ever written concerned Evolution and Down Syndrome. While I am still unsure on the subject, the best I can figure is that Nature itself somehow knows there is a significant need of love for all humanity. Our survival depends on it. In my opinion, individuals with Down Syndrome exhibit the purest form of love in the world, so Nature routinely selects human beings with Down Syndrome to survive because the human race needs them. There was a time when I was part of the group that believed children pre-diagnosed in the womb with Down Syndrome should be aborted, but I don't believe that way anymore. I now believe it is the duty of doctors to tell expectant moms not only the risks associated with raising a child with Down Syndrome, but also the benefits and rewards. I now see they have a purpose."
Enter beautiful young wife number ? pulling at Dr. B.'s sleeve. Her brief glance our way revealed what she was secretly thinking: Chappy and I did not measure up on her "who's who" list. Suddenly the soft man who had gently opened his heart to us for a few moments to share his innermost thoughts on a subject that had not only impacted his beloved grandson, Seth, but had obviously turned his own Evolutionary teachings upside down in such a way, without realizing it, he was desperately attempting to hammer a round peg into a square hole..... this man suddenly morphed into Dr. Cowboy again right before our eyes.
"It was nice talking to you"...."enjoy your evening." And our conversation ended. We were dismissed. Chappy and I felt like poor settlers, who upon entering an old western town after months of traveling in a covered wagon, had been given a few moments with Clint Eastwood, the sheriff of the town, before being sent on our way to find lesser "like folk" to associate with. Dr. Cowboy had more important matters to attend to, and our social status had been aptly measured and had come up a bit short.
As Chappy and I walked through the Frist Museum later that evening, viewing artwork crafted by the infamous masters over a hundred years ago, we thought of Dr. Cowboy. Both of us shed a few tears for him that evening while surrounded by slightly intoxicated partiers dressed in ballroom gowns and tuxedos, giggling out loud from the buzz the alcohol provided. Each masterpiece from the renowned collection of art was miraculous in itself to behold. How a mere mortal can create such intricate works of art from paint and brush never ceases to amaze me. Mortals. Men. Each long deceased. Each amounting to a pile of dust beneath a marked gravestone. Eternity decided.
The irony hit me. On a chilly evening in October, hundreds of the Middle TN elite gathered at the highly anticipated Frist Gala to view valuable artwork that was masterfully crafted over one hundred years ago by men who are now dead.....and to my knowledge, it did not dawn on one party-goer that evening that all the fame, fortune, education and prestige in the world does not matter when death comes. And we are all dying.
If I had the chance to say anything to Dr. B., it would be this:
Like the artists of old, our God is quite creative. In fact, to draw Chappy and me closer to Himself, He allowed us the privilege of becoming parents to a little imperfect girl on September 14, 2005. Through Hope's life, He has taught two sinful, selfish creatures volumes about His love, patience, compassion, and forebearance. In the last five years, it has been as if God has taken a key and unlocked our hearts. Before Hopey, the truth is, we didn't know love at all.
Perhaps, Dr. B, Almighty God is the "Who" you refer to as "Nature" and/or "Evolution". Maybe it is He who perfectly created little Seth and placed him into your life, because His love for you is so magnificently grand He wanted to draw you close to Himself. Each time Seth holds your hand tightly with his pudgy fingers, could it be God is reaching out to touch you through that hand? And each time you sacrifice your pride in order to stoop and help Seth do something that comes easy for most children, could it be that God is receiving floods of glory from your simple act of choosing humility? Could it be that His plans are far grander than "Nature"; and could it be that He is a master painter who is intricately brushing every detail upon this great big canvas we have called Time and the Universe?
The truth is that God will go to any length to make sure we have every opportunity to attain eternal life....even to the point of leaving glory behind to be born a man in order to wonderfully become the supreme sacrifice which became a requirement the day sin entered the earth. Oh, what an awesome God we serve! And best of all, His Way is so simple a child can understand it. God is God, and we are not. We need only trust Him the way a child trusts His parents to care for him. What a plan! What a Savior!
"Have you ever in your life commanded the morning or caused the dawn to know its place? Have you entered the springs of the sea or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Have you understood the expanse of the Earth....where is the dwelling of light? Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or have you seen the storehouses of the hail? Where is the way that the light is divided or the east wind scattered on the earth? Has the rain a father or who has begotten the drops of dew? From whose womb has come the ice and the frost of heaven, who has given it birth?" Job 38
"Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever humbles himself as a child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 18:3-4