This is one of my favorite pictures of David. His devilish smile, his beautiful blue eyes, and his joy of life radiate from every pore of his being. Everything was perfect. It was just like it was supposed to be. But then came the loss of vision, the diagnosis, years of caregiving, and ultimately his death. It goes without saying that I miss much about David.
We have another picture of David right before he died. Chris, Brittney, Daniel and even our dog Heidi are gathered around David’s bed. In this picture, David is obviously very ill. He is blind, not eating or drinking much, unable to walk on his own, and struggling to say anything that made sense. It was very difficult to see David like this. His blue eyes are now clouded by confusion and pain. His smile was forced. His joy stifled by his disease.
Thankfully his disease and the hell it brought with it did not rob David of his beauty and dignity and value as a human being made in the image of God! Batten Disease could not change one thing about David’s value to our family nor his value and impact in our community. Even in his broken and fragile condition, David radiated the beauty of being God’s child. Love continued to pour out to others. God’s presence was experienced. Friends, family, and even strangers were inspired to live more joyfully and stop complaining about the little things. Like a mirror, David reflected the Imago Dei, the image of God, and it was beautiful.
This is why one of our values at David’s Refuge is focused on respecting all people, no matter their age, sex, religion, or disability. In fact, it is listed as our first value. We say it this way;
Respect: we believe in the sanctity of human life and therefore will treat everyone with dignity and respect
This means your child, no matter their disability or illness, is beautiful! Your child is not normal but extraordinary! Your child adds beauty and value to our world and should be celebrated! Your child is God’s masterpiece! I pray and hope today you get another beautiful glimpse of the Imago Dei in your child’s eyes! It is there and it is beautiful.