Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Shell?

Recently a Christian pediatrician that was part of a short term team referred to one of the children at the orphanage as "a shell".   He continued to say that this child did not and would never have the capability of doing anything on his own, he did not and would never "feel" love or be able to give it. He was unable to recognize when he was being held or distinguish between anything at all. He would be a drain on the system. ( Deep breath.......another deep breath.....)

The child he was referring to was born without several portions of his brain.  He is blind and has a hearing deficit- although the extent of it is currently unknown.  This little guy, Santiago (James), is 6 months old and is the size of a 2 month old currently.   He is being fed through a nasal tube as sucking is hard for him and takes a very long time- to the point that he was not receiving enough nutrients orally to grow. Does he have some pretty big obstacles against him? Absolutely!

Is he a shell?  Well, what is a shell (besides the name of the community in which we live)?
According to the American Standard Dictionary:

      a hard outer covering of an animal, as the hard case of a mollusk, or either half of the case of a bivalve mollusk.

      any of various objects resembling such a covering, as in shape or in being more or less concave or hollow.

      the material constituting any of various coverings of this kind.

      the hard exterior of an egg.

      the usually hard, outer covering of a seed, fruit, or the like, as the hard outside portion of a nut, the pod of peas, etc.
To some it up: a shell is a covering- the contents inside the shell vary.  Is the inside of an egg worthless? How about nuts or turtles- do they have value?
My question to the doctor was this?  "Is my brain different than yours?"  Of course the answer was yes.  "If we were to scan both of our brains- would the same areas of my brain do the exact same things as those same areas of your brain"?   No......    "Does God create each of us differently and uniquely"?    Yes........    "But Santiago has no value"? "He was created by God to be a shell?"   "An empty shell?" Silence.........     "Shells can contain some pretty awesome stuff and beneficial stuff, huh?"   Awkward silence.........  time to change the subject, so as not to dis-respect this fellow Christian.
How often do we see the outside of someone and think,  "they are a drain on society"?  I mean really, think about it- the homeless man on the street, the drunk who is  rarely if ever sober, the mentally handicapped? They probably don't work or contribute time or energy into making our world a better place.   Are they empty shells? 
May God open our eyes to what HE sees, to what HE thinks of those who are "less than perfect".
By the way,  every time I or someone else picks up Santiago when he is crying and lays him on their chest- he stops crying, his eyes open wider and he moves his head so that he can hear/feel a heartbeat.
Shell? I think my Christian brother was mistaken. 

1 comment:

  1. This struck a chord with me because my grandson was born with craniosynastosis. He was off the bottom of the growth chart for quite awhile, and the question of deficits was always on everyone's mind. But now, at 18 months, by God's grace, he's doing well.

    God bless you for what you do. This is an amazing story of the body of Christ touching those who need to be touched.


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