By Shannon Efteland
Everyday I learn. I discover new things. Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of the vastness and depth of all the things there are to know, of all the different ways of knowing, and all the myriad things I do not know. I usually see it with a wonder and a longing.
Sometimes a wisp of that knowing, like the smell of a distant memory, tugs at my consciousness and lodges a tiny “knowing” in my being.
When Liam was born, we knew all the worries, all the what ifs, all the oh nos. As he has grown, we have learned how much of that was unnecessary. So much worry that serves no one. We realized he is a wonderful, funny, mischievous boy who was going to push every boundary of all the things we were told he wouldn’t do.
But just now, a dawning occurred. A realization of what he IS.
A sequence of events and thoughts followed by that wisp of knowing lodges in my heart.
It has weighed so heavily on me that people like Liam—people with Down syndrome—are on “the list.” That list of people not worthy of receiving treatment if triage medicine becomes needed. Because they are not worth as much?
“As much as what?” I keep thinking.
As measured in years or in the attaining of money or power? Is it because they have less ability to climb the corporate ladder? To produce offspring? To become a brain surgeon?
What makes them not worthy of saving? And why would any of us seek to define that worthiness for any reason?
It makes me sad for us all.
My boy with DS (and a good number of his friends) has a gift of immeasurable worth.
They have the ability to love, to truly love. I know this, but there is something more that has eluded me.
The deeper “knowing.” What they have is SO much more than love. Almost beyond my limited human comprehension.
Liam carries a part of celestial being with him. He shines with that light.
I’ll not say he is an angel. Ha ha. I always balk when people tell me that all people with DS are angels. I mean, this angel just colored on my sofa and stole my jewelry and then whacked his brother upside the head. He is most certainly a being of Earth with much of the same earthliness that is in the rest of us. He fights with his brothers and gets mad when someone takes his toy, he gets sad and frustrated and happy and scared.
But he has something else.
Something worthy of reverence.
In him remains something that fades from the rest of us as we grow. Something that many of us spend our lives seeking and searching for.
He still carries, at the heart of him, a part of the celestial being that he was before, that he will return to when this earthly journey comes to an end.
He shines with that light, he loves with that celestial heart. He shows us what it is we seek, that source love that flows just beyond the grasp of most of us.
He lives in that.
He loves with that.
It is full of humility that I realize that his celestial light has been shared freely with me. Not everyone gets to be loved in that light on this Earth.
And even those of us who do get to be loved with that light may not recognize it.
Last night, he held onto me as he was falling asleep (when all children are at their most angelic), and he said, “Love you, Mommy. Best ever,” and I thought “Yeah, little one, you are.”
So now I challenge myself to see that celestial light, to honor it, to give it its due reverence while still raising this earthly being in which that light resides.
Unlike most of us, Liam’s celestial voice will not fade as he grows up. He will shine with that light for all of his days. And he will most willingly share it with you, if you want to receive it.
I don’t know what on this Earth is more worthy of saving than that.
Shannon Efteland is a mother of three amazing children. You can read her blog at facebook.com/mylifeneedsanapkin.