Tuesday, June 06, 2006

We Need More Idiots

My wife was on her way to work yesterday when she passed a car; from the rear passenger window a man in perhaps his early forties had stuck his head out to enjoy the breeze. The man was obviously mentally handicapped. He had a grin a mile wide on his face. The simple pleasure of a 40 mph wind delighted him as he turned his face to catch all aspects of the wind on different parts of his head. My wife was moved by this experience as she stated that it was so good to see someone enjoying themselves in a car while every other driver was trying to cut someone off or beat the light. His was the only smile she saw.

I reflected on what she said and how my existence has been so stressed out lately that I find myself in the same position that I was in just prior to retiring from the PD. I would drag myself into work dreading each day. I allowed the grind and pressure to wear me out and render me joyless, humorless and a little deader each day. And it was starting again.

And I thought of this man, who uncharitably we would call an idiot, who perhaps never had a care in the world because he just was not "smart"enough to worry, who would never produce anything of value, who must rely on resources that must be supplied by someone else for he is unable to provide for himself. In other words, this man would amount to no more than a drain on everyone he came into contact with.

But God in His wisdom had put this man in this position to remind me of something. For all my struggles, this man will be no better off, and no worse off, upon his death than I. His life will be less racked with doubt and worry. He will not realize that everything he had accomplished would be dust in a generation or two. And he would not care. A "half wit" that lacks the sense to cross the street by himself is just as precious to God as the CEO of a major corporation, perhaps more so since he is utterly dependent on others for his care. And this is the rub.

We need to learn from the "disadvantaged" that life has no guarantees. We are all a traffic accident, a heart attack or a stroke away from the same condition. In one way or another we are all dependent upon the kindness of others no matter how hard we try to deny it. And kindness is a spark of divinity, a foretaste of heaven that is becoming scarce. Kindness is evidence that there indeed is a God. But for the kindness and compassion of God there would be no Savior.

Today our society is aborting children who suffer from these conditions as soon as they can be identified. The man in the car would be killed in the womb simply because it would be inconvenient to care for him. Because it would be too costly to provide the level of care he would require. Because he is not worthy to be a beloved son or daughter. Because he just doesn't fit our notion of a useful citizen.

It has been said that a society will be judged by how it treats its weakest, most vulnerable members. This "Teri Schiavo" type of accounting is straight from hell. And America will be held accountable for it.

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