Parents are something that we all have. Some for a shorter time than others. Some for a very long time. The majority of us live with our parents for about 18 to 25 years before the separation takes place. Some of us never get the experience of a long term separation from our parents.
Some of us appreciate the presence and the dynamism of the relationship between us and them. We get to try out behaviors on them and either rejoice or suffer from the consequences. The house is a laboratory of sorts where we get socialized, spiritualized, characterized and several other "izes" that we all know about from experience. All these things make life with our parents a rich experience...for the most part.
Parents too enjoy life in this laboratory. They know that from about age 25 through age 55 or so, they will share their entire beings with from about 1 to 12 children, depending on religious, cultural, economical and other elements. They also know one other thing. The children that they bring into the world may grow old, but they will never cease to be "my little boy" or "my little girl." That is perhaps the most difficult pill for most children to swallow. For some, however, it turns out to be the salvation that they need to have happy and comfortable lives. That brings me to Laurie.
Laurie is a 40 plus year old lady who still lives with her mother and father. I know them fairly well. I also respect them more than they have come to know. Papa and Mama have answered the special call from God to be special parents to a special needs child. They have accepted their vocation and the relationship that they have with Laurie deserves a higher adjective that just special...It is sacramental. It is covenantal. It defines the meaning of marriage and parenthood for the communion of saints who see it. This is a family who lives in a Cathedral of Love under the wings of the Angels and in the presence of the Spirit.
Every now and then the Blue Light Special Prayer signal goes out from the family and along with it comes the report of the last visit that was played out at Massachusetts General Hospital with regards to the physical health of the Special Laurie. It's usually not too good. We all hear it, say our prayers, assure Papa and Mama that we join them in heart and soul and life goes on. It goes on for Laurie too, despite the fact that some of the news is scientifically devastating. Papa has told me several times that the doctors still don't know how this wonderfully patient and happy person can continue to be so contented with life. Indeed, they even wonder how she can continue living at the level of energy and health that she does.
WE know. We know something that the doctors are not allowed to enter into the equation. Laurie's head primary care doctor is none less than God Himself. She, Papa and Mama talk to God every single day. She, Papa and Mama sit and listen to what God has to tell them, every single day. No wonder that when she walks away from a long review session with the army of doctors who know her and study her and strive to understand what keeps her going and how they can help her to continue, she must just sit there and wonder "What now?"
Today, for instance, the long email from Mama explained that Laurie's lung function is diminishing in efficiency. Of course, Laurie being Laurie, she throws them a curve and proves to them that her breathing is perfectly fine. Hmmm. I don't know the whole story, but there's something mysteriously similar to this going on with her kidneys too. Not to fret, brothers and sisters, energetic life goes on. But wait, what does the scientific team say about this situation with the lungs? Let's check it out, according to Mama's version.
"Start Laurie on a drug called rapamycin..." Not good. Bad experience with this drug in the past.
"Get Laurie into an on-going trial for a new drug..." Not good. What if she falls into the "placebo group?" Hmmm. Good question.
"Wait and see." Yep. Very scientific exercise.
Well, frankly, they don't call doctors practitioners for nothing. They are professionals at practicing. When they want a real answer, they ask your parents. In this case, as in many others, that is the perfect place for the answer to lie. Laurie, Papa and Mama went straight to God and to God's friends. There's the one who knows. He is the one who manages Laurie's kidneys. He's also the one who keeps her breathing normally with diminishing lung capacity. He's not willing to let her go. He's got far too many important things for her to do. Papa and Mama can attest to that. Laurie can too. Me too, but I'll die before I write some of the suggestions that I have. Oh, I can write this one: Laurie and her parents are going to cure everyone from wanting to cry at my funeral. They're going to do it with the good example of what it means to be a Job family. Or to be the family whose oil never runs out because they are caring for the prophet.
By the way, no one ever said that this is easy. No one ever said that being a child of God is easy. God demands that we collaborate with Him to get things done. So, Laurie, Papa and Mama live in a tight knit spiritually alert community collaborating with God in the job of keeping Laurie and themselves energetic in His presence. Without God in that house, who knows what it would look like? Two seventy year old parents with a 45 year old child and no God? Don't even try to imagine it.
Brothers and sisters, that's why we need parents. That's why our children need parents, no matter how old they are.
Remember why I put these thoughts here under this title: there is to be no crying at my funeral. Why? Because God has taken it easy on me for all these years. He lets me be a grouch and get away with it. What more can I ask for? Don't cry for Papa and Mama of Laurie because when their job is done, God will take care of them. Don't cry for Laurie because she is the sign of God's presence in our midst. Let us honor her with our prayers so that she will never waver in her resolve to be a saint in God's eyes and ours. Not just for her good, but for ours as well. We ask this through Jesus, our Savior who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit forever.