Saturday, March 16, 2019

Tribute to Pastor Dave

Recently we have learned that our Pastor has decided to continue his work in the special needs community and he will be leaving our church.  We all view this as a ministry and an extension of what he taught us every week within the church walls.

Pastor Dave and I met in an organic way, just two guys taking walks around the neighborhood.  Little did I understand that my walk with Tyler would lead us to him and his church.  Dave and I immediately discovered we had a lot in common.  We both had a passion for helping the special needs community, we both love football, and we both want a peaceful world for our children.  And like most people we have very profound differences, especially politically.  But we want the same things in life which is far more important.  Most of all, we both love Tyler and what is best for him.

Our impromptu meetings in the neighborhood turned into Dave introducing us to what would become Tyler's care agency.  My trust in him allowed me to follow his recommendations, which became the very foundation of Tyler's life today.  For this reason alone I owe him so much.

Once Tyler became established in his new home, he started attending Dave's church on a weekly basis.  Within a few months Dave asked if he could baptize Tyler.  We were happy to agree and attend the ceremony.  We immediately felt the incredible inclusion and love that the congregation has for Ty.    This lead to the girls and I attending each week, which has now evolved in my in-laws doing the same.  It has also lead to a few dozen people receiving new study bibles through Tyler's bible program.

As you see, Pastor Dave has touched our lives in more ways than we can count, and we are thankful that he will continue to be part of our lives.  But most of all, I'm proud to call him my friend.

Be well and God bless.    Tom

Sunday, March 3, 2019

But Now What?

Tonight I will tackle an extremely difficult subject.

When Robin and I found out, in 1991, that Tyler was likely to have severe disabilities, we were given the option to terminate the pregnancy.  His prognosis was dire.  Fortunately there was no known danger to Robin regardless of our ultimate decision.  For her and I it was a quick decision....we would love and protect Tyler regardless of what that meant.  I've told that story and some people ask...would I make the same decision all over again?

I would.  And I would love to stick out my chest and claim I feel 100% committed to that and always have been.  That would make me a liar.  I've had doubts, and sometimes I still do.  Consider this:

We are better at keeping people alive medically than we are caring for them.  In other words, science continues to advance to make life longer, or to save more distressed babies, but we struggle to maintain the resources needed to ensure quality of life.  

And what happens when a severely disabled child is born to parents without the physical, financial, or emotional means to care for them?  Often what follows is a lack of care, and the high possibility of neglect and abuse.  And please take my word for this, there are no lines around the block to adopt special needs children. 

Is there a "natural order"?  Until perhaps the 50's, children and adults with severe disabilities had a limited life span.  Was this the way God and nature intended it to be? Have we become so obsessed with medicine that we have taken those decisions into our own hands, beyond what was intended?  This ties into my first point, that our desire to keep a heart beating has outgrown our ability to care for those souls.

On the flip side, we never truly KNOW what will happen.  Afterall, Tyler was predicted to die, or never speak or walk, but he has exceeded expectations and touched thousands of people.  He experiences love and warmth.  Without him the world would not be as bright.

My answer remains yes, I would do it all over again because for US it was the right thing to do.  That said, I would never suggest that everyone had to make the same choice.  If Robin's life were in danger and we knew Tyler was in grave peril, I may have had to make a very different decision.  I wish we lived in a world that guaranteed special needs persons had unlimited love, housing, medicine and care, but we don't live in that world.  If we did I think these decisions would be much more simple.

My hope is this: when faced with a decision like Robin and I faced, that every consideration is carefully considered.  That those parents seek help from family, ministers, doctors, and social workers to have all the fact.  I hope that selfishness gets pushed aside and every opportunity is given to that child and mother.  But no two circumstances are the same, especially when there are substantial medical issues that complicate things.  I don't believe there is a one-size-fits-all answer.  When an agonizing choice has to be made, its up to that person to have to accept it within themselves and before God.  

Be well and God bless.    Tom