Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A conversation in the pool


I brought my little girl to the pool for a dip. She loves the water. During the summer there's always a bunch of kids with heir parents at the pool in our townhouse complex. It's fun.

Our little girl, Allie, is our granddaughter, biologically. My wife and I adopted her after a tragic incident. Allie is a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy - she's a victim of shaken baby syndrome. She can't swim but she sure does have a blast at the pool. Her handicap is obvious and her enthusiasm for swimming is over the top.

Dialogue with other parents is unavoidable and, for some parents with children, irresistible. Especially when their kids quietly stare, intrigued by Allie. They're a little terrified, I think. Even more pronounced is the fear that grips a parent who knows she must deliver a child-sized explanation about the handicapped little girl on the way home. Recently, a mom asked me how she should explain it to her kids. She was genuinely at a loss. "Why would God let this happen to your little girl? What do I say to my kids" she asked.

Wow. It's never easy to open up a dialogue about God at the pool. I welcomed the question. "God doesn't just want to save or bless people and that be where it stops. He wants to bless and save others through us," I told her. "That's what you can say. This world is broken and has broken people in it – they’re not too young to see it – and that gives everyone a chance to do good to others all the time. We serve God by helping others and we reflect His love into the world when we help."

I've always admired the mammoth faith of Joni Eareckson Tada. Her radio ministry has been a blessing for years long before we ever had a special needs kid in the house. Here is a link to an article containing ten nice things you can say to new moms of children with disabilities. And here is a PDF of the article to download.

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