Dedicated to Dima

It began as an inkling, an interest, a possibility, but developed and grew until their hearts beat boldly with conviction; their souls brimmed with love. He was their son and yet he lived not in their home. While he played unknowingly in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, they prayed intentionally in Ocala, Florida. Jenny and Eric enjoyed, even embraced, what they considered a complete happy existence until they discovered God’s calling for their truly fulfilled, purposeful life. Though already parents of three healthy, happy boys, their family was incomplete, missing one unhealthy, languishing boy.

He is labeled special needs; yet he is called Dima. Dima means warrior and at just seven years of age he wars with narrow-mindedness. Dima means follower of Demeter, the Goddess of life and death, and at his young age he follows a prescribed life which leads to certain death. In a world ravenous for excess and abundance, where more is always better, Dima’s extra chromosome convicts him as worthless and unwanted. His future as a child with Down’s Syndrome in Ukraine ends confined to a bed in a mental institution; his future as a child of Jenny and Eric in Florida begins released to a life filled with family and love. Dima’s past brands him as defective, a monster to be hidden away; Dima’s future offers hope, a child of God to be nurtured.

“You make all things new” sing the congregants Sunday morning but “Dima won’t amount to much” scoff the naysayers Monday morning. Does God make mistakes or does God only create perfection? If such a child as Dima is not worthy of being called their “son”, however might we consider ourselves worthy of being called His “sons and daughters”? Their eyes opened to reality, their souls burdened with calling, their hearts consumed with passion. Despite snarls and stares, Jenny and Eric proclaim, “We cannot close our eyes, cannot disregard God’s desire, cannot quench the love.” None are mistakes and unwanted; all are masterpieces and welcome. Dima may once have been discarded only to be destroyed but now he is enveloped always to be enjoyed.