Alaska, Palin, an Extra Chromosome, and a Kindred Spirit
Friday, August 29, 2008
This summer, when we were in Alaska, I met some crazy people. People who race dogs for 1000 miles. People who willingly choose to live in the bush with no electricity in minus 50 degree weather. People who fly little float planes instead of drive cars.
And I loved them all.
What an awesome state! Everybody there seemed independent, responsible, motivated, fun, and definitely a character.
Plus they had great yarn shops.
And great scenery.
But on with my story.
When our cruise ship stopped in Juneau, I saw a little handmade soap shop called "The Glacier Smoothie
". They make awesome creams and soaps using silt from the glaciers, which acts as an exfoliant. It is really luxurious.
I bought some gifts there, and as I was paying, I happened to look on top of the door. There, in calligraphy, was a Bible verse--I look to the hills, from whence cometh my help. The white-haired man smiled at me when I commented that it was a beautiful verse, and he went on to say that without God you can't really do anything.
I agreed with him, and we talked for a bit.
Then, to show my dazzlingly amazing knowledge of American politics and bond with this kind gentleman, who reminded me of a Matthew Cuthbert, I said, "I've just been praying for Sarah Palin, and I hope that McCain names her VP."
All of a sudden his eyes lit up, and he said that he believed that God had put her in this place for a purpose, and that he's been preparing her for something greater. She has stood for God through thick and thin, even through some big attacks on her for her faith. He told me that he believed that when you stand for God, God gives you more responsibility. And she has proven herself worthy of that.
The main attack, he said, came this year when she chose not to abort her son with Down Syndrome.
Here's what the Wikipedia entry says about Palin's children:
On September 11, 2007, the Palins' son Track joined the Army. Eighteen years old at the time, he is the eldest of Palin's five children. Track now serves in an infantry brigade and will be deployed to Iraq in September. She also has three daughters: Bristol, 17, Willow, 13, and Piper, 7. On April 18, 2008, Palin gave birth to her second son, Trig Paxson Van Palin, who has Down syndrome. She returned to the office three days after giving birth. Palin refused to let the results of prenatal genetic testing change her decision to have the baby. "I'm looking at him right now, and I see perfection," Palin said. "Yeah, he has an extra chromosome. I keep thinking, in our world, what is normal and what is perfect?"
(I don't think it says that today; her post is being changed with the news).
Anyway, she was lambasted for having a fifth child, and then for not aborting, but she held on anyway.
As this man told me about Palin, and her integrity, I shared with him my own story about my child with Down Syndrome. And he looked at me with compassion, and said, "So you understand."
More customers came into the store then, so I took my things and left. I didn't want to. You knw how sometimes you encounter someone and your heart just yearns to sit with them and talk for a lifetime or two? I don't get that very often, but I did with this gentleman. But my father-in-law and mother-in-law were waiting for me, and my husband was hoping I didn't spend all our money, so it was time to go.
Talking with him just made my day, and even my cruise. It's such a little thing, but when I think of all the people I met in Alaska, this quiet man with deep conviction about "I look to the hills, from whence comes my help" is who I recall. I look forward to meeting him on the other side.
I suppose McCain sat up this morning, and perhaps said the same thing about Palin--"I look to the mountains, from whence comes my help." And hopefully he saw behind those mountains to the One who made them, too.
I have no idea who will win the election. I do think Palin is a good choice. It's time a woman was VP pick again, and she brings the energy issue front and center, where it should be. Certainly I would prefer McCain, it's true, but I know God's in charge, and I'm Canadian and can't vote anyway.
But to have Palin there, on this day, is so meaningful to me. After being told again and again to abort my son, and choosing to give him life, and still having people second guess me, to have her there is like God smiling on me.
I can't explain it, but thirteen years ago today we were sitting in the Intensive Care Unit watching my son post-surgery. And he was not doing particularly well. We would only have him for another five days.
Usually this week is one of the hardest in the year for me.
But today, I think that a woman who deliberately stood against both the abortion lobby and the group that would belittle Down Syndrome people is potentially in a position of great moral authority. And I'm so glad she's there. May God be with you, Sarah.
Labels: Christopher, Down Syndrome, politics
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posted @ 10:36 AM