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Lifelong burden ... a blessing?

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    Lifelong burden ... a blessing?

    This morning my son and I discussed literature. Specifically, we noted a good author's ability to challenge and strengthen one's mind and character in ways that mere escapism and entertainment cannot.

    Michael wants to protect his mind, because he fears the long-term prognosis of some of his conditions. He does not want to lose the ability to think or to read, as sometimes happens with degenerative conditions. I promised him he will be well served to continue reading good books. Reading challenging books will help protect his mind.

    I pray for the strengthening of my children's minds. As any parent of special-needs child knows, their prognosis is on my mind too. This helps keep me steadfast in teaching them.

    Last week, I spent several days in the Memoria Press office working on the new curriculum packages. My children were back home in Missouri. I needed a book to read. (I learned that when you find yourself in Kentucky with no book to read, Martin Cothran will give you Kentucky's own novelist and essayist Wendell Berry.)

    The first evening I was thinking about my children back home, but I did not want to call so soon and induce homesickness. Even at nearly 19, my children's special needs make them susceptible.

    Instead of calling, I entered Wendell Berry's forced slowing of thought, where reading yields to contemplation. His characters speak with a casual wisdom, such as my 100-year-old grandma often shared with me without even intending to do so.

    In his story "Pray without Ceasing," in a farm kitchen, the grandmother tells of a horrible day long ago when she learned of a tragedy. "Oh, I felt it go all over me, before I knew it in my mind," she describes. "I just wanted to crawl away. But I had your mother to think about. You always have somebody to think about, and it's a blessing." (1)

    I understood. As long as our children live, especially our children with special needs, "you always have somebody to think about." And it's a blessing.


    1. Fidelity, "Pray Without Ceasing," 38.

    Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
    Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., with Foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith


    This is really beautiful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts here.