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Archive for December 17th, 2020

A white funeral.

Posted by appolus on December 17, 2020

When Daniel, my son with Down Syndrome was born I was devastated. It is shameful to admit it but I had a dream you see. I had only been a Christian for less than two years. I came from a violent broken home. Married six weeks after my 17th birthday to my pregnant girlfriend and that year my first son died. A year and half later my second son was born. Beautiful child, but born to a hard hearted father. When he was two, my wife had to come looking for me in a pub so she could get money for groceries. She had left our son with my dad. I was mad that she had come into the pub. I told her I would be out, sat there deliberately and drank the couple of vodkas still sitting in front of me, with the guys who thought it was all very funny.

I walked out into the daylight, I had been in there for a number of hours, it was about four thirty on a Friday afternoon. We got the groceries and got a taxi home. I walked into our apartment to screams. Just minutes before my father had dropped a full kettle of boiling water over my two year old beautiful son. He had managed to get him into the bath tub and was trying to pour water over him. My wife ran out in hopes to find a neighbor who had a phone. I pushed my dad out of the way and saw my son trying to pull of what looked like Swiss cheese, like a sweater. In the ambulance their was a a voice screaming in my spirit, not my voice, “he is ruined, he is ruined.”

Now, eleven years later and I had been saved for about a year and a half. All the way through my wives pregnancy I had a fantasy. I just knew it was going to be a girl. Angie did not want to know. So I used to try and bribe the girl who would take the scan, but you know, woman power and all that. No matter, it was going to be a girl and she was going to be special and I was going to be the best dad in the world, now that my life was right with Jesus. A new heart, one that could actually love and feel. A majestic miracle in and of itself.

“Its a boy,” I heard. “Mr McEleny could I have a quick word with you?” I left my wife lying on the table, she had just had her third c-section, and went to the back of the room. “I do not usually do this but I am 100 per cent sure your son has Down Syndrome, do you and your wife still want her tubes to be tied.” Without even giving it a second thought or even asking Angie I answered numbly “yes.” This was also a Friday. And so I mourned, I mourned for the daughter that was not to be.

And this is what I would like to talk about. Letting dreams die. Fantasies die. The distance between expectations, dreams, visions and so on, and reality, can be like a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon. For the most part our dreams are not grounded in reality, very often just wishful thinking. Yet we live in a culture that promotes pursuing your dreams. Most dreams come straight out of our own desires for the kind of life we think we want or we think we deserve. It has caused murder and mayhem in relationships. Violence, divorce, children flying in the wind.

Here is the thing about Christians though. We have been bought by a price, is that not right? There is One who shapes our lives for His will and for His good pleasure. It is no longer we that live but He that lives in us, is that not what we tell people? It is one thing to tell people that truth, that abstract truth, it is quite another thing to live it. The white funerals of our lives are part and parcel of our sanctification. Like the elephants graveyard this is the place where we die to our own plans and ambitions no matter how righteous they appear. It is God who calls us and it is He who is the Captain of our souls. When we find our delight in the Lord, the Captain of our souls, then He gives us the desires of our hearts and He brings that to pass. Not the desires that arose from our flesh and made demands upon us and demanded to be made the measuring instrument of all things by which we always fall short. The distance between our own expectations and our reality? As far as the east is from the west.

The Sunday after Daniel was born I went to church, very much a broken man. As I drove there that morning all I could say to God was “You have to speak to me or I wont survive this.” Guess what morning it was? Baby dedication morning, beautiful perfect babies. They only did that a couple of times a year. I sat down in the middle of a row and the seat beside me was empty. At some point there was tears pouring down my face. The person in the closest seat to me reached over and nudged me and handed me a note. I looked up and took the note while noticing a young woman standing in the aisle. She had obviously sent the letter down the row. “I could not help but notice,” the note said,” that you were crying, is there anything I can pray with you about.”

I looked at her, she looked at me and I realized I was captive, the empty seat beside me sealing my fate. I would have to talk to her. She came over and sat down and whispered to me “what is wrong.” I looked at her and told her that I just had a child and he had Down Syndrome. She gave me a confused look as if she did not know what that meant. I felt anger and resentment rising in me. I had no desire to explain to this young woman a single thing, let alone explain to her about Down Syndrome which I literally knew nothing about. At that very moment time stood still. I cannot explain it any other way. Suddenly I was looking at Jesus and He had the same confused look on His face. And here are the words that are emblazoned on my heart for all eternity. “I do not know what Down Syndrome is either, all I know is that I have given you a perfect gift from the treasures of heaven.”

Right there I had my white funeral. All thoughts of the girl that should have been were eradicated from my mind and an explosion of love rocked my heart. I had discovered the Lord’s plan for me and it was life changing for myself, my wife and my oldest son. It changed my mother and my father. It has changed so many peoples lives, this plan of God wrought through this “perfect gift from the treasures of heaven.” Now there have been other things in my life that had to die, and some of them were not as “easy,’ as this one and took me years to work out. What white funeral needs to take place in your life? What dreams or ambitions, born from your own desires and needs, need to die? The picking up of the cross, the death to self, very often is a death to heartfelt dreams not in anyway bad, just not God’s will for you. What needs to die upon your cross today?

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