This week’s assignment is to write about our faith as it relates to Down syndrome. I wrote the following post a year ago and it still rings true.
The following was in my DayBook for September 2:
“The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord.” -‘Abdu’l-Baha
One of the things that first drew me to my faith was this belief that humankind is one big family. The Baha’i faith has many ways of describing this – drops in one ocean, flowers in one garden – the list is long. I really believe this. Not in a kumbaya, hands across the world kind of way, but in the sense that we must truly unite as one family in order to accomplish anything.
Suddenly becoming part of the “other” made this belief particularly important to me. A daughter with Down syndrome, well, that changes things for some people. It isn’t an instant smile upon seeing your child, it’s a sort of calculated not too scared, not too pitying half smile and a safe comment like “look at her hair!” We are already treated differently by some, we have already been cast out by others.
Rowenna may never do some of the things typical kids will do, but she will approach the world with a very unique perspective. To discount her perspective because of a perceived idea of her abilities, because her iq is too low or her eyes too slanted, is to leave out an important part of the human family. She is as important as anyone else and as beautiful as anyone else. She is already a wonderful addition to the music of this world.
I may have been hoping to strike a certain chord when I became a mother. Maybe I hoped for a fifth, an A to my D. Instead I got a third, an F#. We still make a beautiful harmony. It just resonates differently.
I don’t think we’ll ever know why God makes some people with an extra chromosome. I’d like to think that it’s because of this teaching from my faith. If we were all D notes, we could never make music. Without the subtleties of a well-timed F# or a change in tempo, this would be one heck of a boring place to live.
I, for one, am glad for a little harmony.