Broken Before They Live

"Do unto others as you would have them do to you."
“Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”
I wrote this poem after learning of a young girl who had massive epileptic seizures immediately following birth. She was at the time (2010) twelve or so and had recently been placed in a home for the type of care that requires 24 hours a day. She was said to miss her family, but for the first time in her life she had something of a social life which was making the transition easier. She was, according to her father’s statement in the report I read, well taken care of in an exceptional facility, was deeply loved by her parents, loved, though without understanding, by extended family, who found it difficult to understand why she was not aborted. I couldn’t get this out of my mind. Though I don’t know this family I was aware of the father’s political affiliation and that he was an intimate advisor to the president  by whom he was much respected. This article was written as a result of an interview, I believe for a magazine. I felt then as I do now that there is a huge lack of caring in this modern world. It is an attitude that seems to say ‘why be bothered? Make life easy on yourself!’ I failed to mention that the girl is intelligent which indicates a huge ability to learn how to manage a difficult life with training. I understand that any situation of this nature can just seem so hopeless for those involved and I don’t want to pass judgment on anyone’s decision. What I do want to do is to encourage us when we encounter these trials that we all have,  to dig deeper within ourselves for the resilience that by the grace of God we have. I understand that we can’t understand the manner in which God manages things on this earth, but what we can know is the love He has for us because it was demonstrated at Calvary when He took our place on that cross and died for us. In return for that demonstrated love, we need to trust Him as this girl’s parents did. All I know about them religiously is that they are Catholic and they were grateful to God for this precious child, and they followed their conscious in this decision because they wanted to do the right thing. For those of us who don’t have the money to do as this family did, there are ways that each of us can seek as we ‘make-do’ with what we have and with what is available to us. Sometimes the most wonderful gifts evolve from ‘making-do.’ I pray for this family and for others around the world in both their sorrow and their happiness, but I pray also for myself and others that we, too, may learn from this family.
Broken lives that begin at birth
For God’s special ones here on earth
Their needs challenge a world out of pace
With love’s empathy, love’s embrace.
What is it that pulls us into ourselves
Allowing ignorance to claim control
As we pompously assume that death
Would be far better than regress?
‘Get rid of it’ too many say
Afraid to admit that ‘it’ is a child
Boy or girl, lovingly anticipated
Not to be ignored. Why can’t we join
In gentle care as we gift something of self
A touch, a prayer, knowing that this dear child 
Is a gift of God, a challenge, not only for parents,
But of humility, faith and love meant for me.
Just ask and you will receive help
To be givers of the love you’ve been given, a link
Between the heaven you’re offered
And the hell we often find ourselves in.

1 thought on “Broken Before They Live

  1. Diane Gulbenkian

    I enjoyed your preface as well as the poem, and it made me try to imagine a world without Helen Keller. I agree that we don’t always know what gifts we have been given that may appear to be adversity.


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