this is dedicated to matthew lafleur.
what a great and amazing brother in Christ you are. I am so blessed to have you in my life.
You are amazing.
I found a note that Matt wrote and it moved me deeply.
Dear Future (even just Prospective) Parents,
My name is Matthew Lafleur. I am not a parent, so it seems weird that I would be able to give any parenting advice, but, if you will, humor me.
I was born with a genetic defect: a disorder called Freidriech's ataxia. This disorder has, over time, caused me to require a wheelchair and have a poor sense of balance.
Because the symptoms develop over time, it wasn't known that I had a genetic disorder until I was diagnosed in fifth grade, and I didn't need the use of a wheelchair until my freshman year of college. I have been wondering lately that if my parents had known that they were carriers of FA, would they have still borne me?
The tentative answer scares me, but doesn't shock me. Childhood for me had plenty of its discouragements and struggles and I told myself that I would never have kids; because in doing that I'd pass on a defective gene, thereby keeping FA in the world, perhaps making future generations suffer.
I've lately become aware of how grateful I am that my parents didn't have this philosophy when having me.
Life with a disability is difficult. To ignore this would be ignorant. But life, with or without a disability, is indeed worth living. Nothing for me compares to seeing the pyramids and sphinx at Cairo, skydiving in California, road trips taken with friends, "being there" for people, having people "be there" for me, good books, cute girls, prayers, and warm pizza.
Yes, I am sappy. But my point is that existence - even with a disability - is infinitely better than non-being.
So here is where I get to you, potential parents. Please don't choose not to have a child if early on (or later on) you find out the child has a handicap or limitation. I know this will cause a lot of difficulty for both you and the child: you will suffer. But that suffering doesn't need to overcome you. To exist is the greatest gift anyone can give. Period.
Now as for me, is the world better because Matt Lafleur is in it? Maybe not, but I am trying my best to better it. Probably I will make no lasting contribution to this world; and that's okay with me. To live, to enjoy life, to build relationships - I think that's enough. Maybe the purpose of life isn't 'doing' something, but just being.
And that works for me.