I wince as high heeled strappy shoes bite my heels. I kneel to rub and find relief. As I straighten I see my old friend’s husband he stands frozen as wedding guests whizz past him oblivious to the gaiety around.
“Hi, how’s it going?” I inquire. He startles; recognition uncurls. The weight of his 6 foot- 4- inch frame crashes into mine. Unaware of the awkwardness of the embrace, he remains motionless.
“Where’s your wife?” I probe. Composure crumbles. Reeling, my held breathe escapes as I prop him onto a high stool. The moment his body touches the support, he spews forth his daughter’s neuro-psychologist report. It’s devastating. Number after number daggers of 40 and 45 pierce him as he spoke, his face contorted with pain. He manages to say his wife left them unable to deal with “such” a damaged child. He was left to stand in the wake.
Silent, I unfold a scrap of well-worn paper with a simple drawing which had brought profound relief and healing to me.
His eyes transfix on the picture as I smooth it against the crisp white table cloth.
Time stops, my voice a whisper. All the while, the celebration continues around us.
“Your child and the fullness of her beauty did not change upon the addition of a number given to you by some human paid to quantify and qualify life. No where in creation is there a number written on a child. Numbers and labels spoken to you are not to be written into her heart or, yours.
You will see but a glimpse of the beauty she possesses here on earth. The depths of her is yet to be revealed.
Each person is created before time, knit together in love and sent to fulfill their own purpose. Her purposes are not your own. Do not be confused; your daughter does not belong to you; she is a gift given only for a moment by a great and glorious God for His perfect will.
I unfold the rest of the picture. It’s edges crackle, reluctant to expose its treasure.
“Consider the rest of the picture she is not left alone to drift. The stem travels down strong and steady with one purpose to find strength rooted and grounded in Christ. See the roots, as she withstands adversity; they grow deeper. I tell you there are not many on this earth who will have as strong of roots as hers.”
Do you see a place on this flower for a number? Would you damage its flawlessness to etch into its delicate petals? No, let her beauty stand as a testimony to the great God who gave you her.” I implore.
His red eyes scraped mine, searching “What purposes- what are you talking about? Did you not hear her IQ scores; 40, 45, 50? What can God do with that?” His arms fall in defeat, they crash against the table, the paper stands.
I push on as I recall the discovery of this truth for my own life, it unfolds as I speak- a crackle of pain emerges.
“Each person is sent to their own specific people group only they can reach. Can you touch the hearts of all the therapist and evaluators with your courage? Can you lift up someone with a flash of your smile? Why are you remarkable? Her very existence and valor to conquer each and every challenge is an inspiration. Can you reach other people who are mentally challenged- will they trust you and know your common struggle?”
“She can do that and more. Your wife will miss out on daily miracles; you will be gifted to see. Your daughter will reach many, not despite her numbers but because of them. There was no mistake made, only a miracle. Receive the miracle and participate in the joy.”
I press the folded paper reduced to a 4 by 2 inch rectangle into his hand and walk away, praying it would expand to cover his heart and hers. I do not look back I no longer need the paper, the truth is etched within me.©