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Thursday, May 13, 2010

for Micah

My nephew Micah turns ten next week, on a day we'll be in an airport somewhere on the way to World Harvest Mission's triennial (well, due to the economy, quadrennial this time) conference.  So this is an early tribute to him, inspired by one of my patients today.  Micah is a special kid, born with Down Syndrome.  I have been through many trying moments with many moms and kids, but few with my own relatives.  So it is no small gift that God allowed me to happen to be in America a week or so before my sister went into labor with her 4th child.  And to be in the delivery room with them when we cleaned off the tiny newborn boy and noticed a certain way he looked and moved.  We wept together for the hard road that lay ahead, and rejoiced together in God's perfect plan for him and all who love him.  I have NOT been present for most of his life, missed many late night trips to the Emergency room when he could not breathe well, or joining in family searches of the neighborhood when he escaped the house.  As the years add up, and the pain of our distance takes a toll on all our hearts, I think Micah is the family member most likely to forgive all that absence, the one who will unconditionally embrace us when we show up, the one who reflects a gracious and accepting reality of God's love.  I hope we can overcome the decade of barely-being-there.  I am looking forward to seeing him soon.

I have a patient admitted this week with Down syndrome.  He's an 8 month old Ugandan, but when I look at him I see my memories of Micah.  Today as I was doing rounds I heard laughter (not the usual sound on the ward, I can assure you).  This baby's mom was playing with him as he lay on the bed, snuggling and getting him to laugh, and she was laughing, too.  When I reached him he made such funny faces and then smiled at me.  This was such an unusual interaction, both the one I witnessed and then the way he received me, that it really struck me.  My patient has some pretty significant heart problems that Micah does not have, and he is extremely unlikely to reach the age of ten.  But during his sojourn on this earth he is, like Micah, already reflecting the image of God in a unique and powerful way, and I am humbly thankful for that.

Happy early 10th Birthday, Micah.  

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