In 2014, Michael and Lisa Gungor, who together form the band Gungor, had a child with Down Syndrome. They named her Lucette, meaning “light.”
Also in 2014 a woman tweeted that she would face “a real ethical dillema” if she found out that she was pregnant with a baby with Down Syndrome. Richard Dawkins, the world’s best-known atheist, responded with this tweet: “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.”
Michael and Lisa wrote a song called Light in response to both the birth of Lucette and Dawkins’ tweet.
Prior to becoming a follower of Jesus, I worked for three years in a residential home for people with various developmental disabilities including Down Syndrome. This experience was more than a job for me; it ended up being one of two primary catalysts that prepared my heart for the Gospel.
I thought then, and still think today, that in many cases people with developmental disabilities are better off than the rest of us. They often smile more, hug more, and laugh more.
It got me asking the big questions of life. It also served to humble me at a time I was known for many things, humility not being one of them. That kind of work is difficult, frustrating, challenging, and hugely rewarding. I was there between the ages of 19 and 21. It’s the period that I became a man–a transition that was directly traceable to my time in that residential home.
I thought then, and still think today, that in many cases people with developmental disabilities are better off than the rest of us. They often smile more, hug more, and laugh more. Not to overly romanticize it, but there is something simple and beautiful in the lives of many of these dear ones.
Several years ago, our close friends David and Jeannie Sherwood had a son, Luke, who had a variety of complications that resulted in him being a “special needs” child. David wrote an article titled The Parable of Luke about their family’s experience with Luke and concluded with a poem he wrote called Silent Sage. He introduced the poem with the words, “A poem for my son and my hero.” I’ve never forgotten that.
Give it a read. You won’t regret it. It might even change your life.
I’m glad that Michael and Lisa and David and Jeannie didn’t do the easy and convenient thing. I’d like to think that Violeta and I would make the same decision. By God’s grace, we certainly would.
Every life matters.
Check out the song and video dedicated to Lucette and all those like her. Because, really, aren’t we all “special needs”?