Somehow I visualize God hovering over Earth selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to make notes in a giant ledger.
"Armstrong, Beth, son, patron saint, Matthew. Forrest, Michael,
daughter, patron saint, Cecilia. "Rudledge, Carrie and Adam, twins, patron saint, give her Gerard. He's used to profanity."
Finally, he passes two names to an angel and smiles, "Give them a special needs child."
The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? They're so happy."
"Exactly," says God. "Could I give a special needs child to parents who do not know laughter? That would be cruel."
"But have they patience?" asks the angel.
"I don't want them to have too much patience or they will drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, they'll handle it.
"I watched them today. They have that feeling of self and dependence that is so rare and so necessary in a mother and father. You see, the child I'm going to give them has his own world. They has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy."
"But, Lord, I don't think they even believe in you."
God smiles. "No matter. I can fix that. These two are perfect. They have just enough selfishness. "
The angel gasps, "Selfishness? Is that a virtue?"
God nods. "If they can't separate themselves from the child occasionally, they'll never survive. Yes, here is a woman and a man whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. They doesn't realize it yet, but they are going to be envied. They will never take for granted a 'spoken word.' They will never consider a 'step' ordinary. When their child says 'Momma' for the first
time, they will be present at a miracle and know it! When they describea tree or a sunset to their blind child, they will see it as few people ever see my creations.
"I will permit them to see clearly the things I see . . . ignorance,
cruelty, prejudice . . . and allow them to rise above them. They will
never be alone. I will be at their side every minute of every day of their life, because they are doing my work as surely as they are here by my side."
"And what about their patron saint?" asks the angel, pen poised midair.
God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."