It was Sunday afternoon, Father’s Day, when we stopped for a late lunch in Lordsburg, in southwestern New Mexico. While we exited the restaurant after eating, we saw an older couple (likely in their mid to late 70s) pushing a wheel chair with an adult child, who appeared to have cerebral palsy or another serious malady. The mother held the door for us, and we thanked her for her courtesy. As we walked across the large parking lot to the car, I could not help but to glance in the direction the older couple was walking in while I wondered if there was anything I might say or do that would be of help or encouragement to them. But alas, there was nothing I could do or say that seemed appropriate. My wife counseled that some people might be a little sensitive, and not like seeing evidence of another person’s pity for their afflicted child. (Later, I did say a prayer for them and their child.)
We observed them (from a distance) first manually lift their adult child out of her wheel chair and up into their RV. Then, they lifted up her wheelchair into their vehicle. This was done in 95 degree June heat.
Truly a loving father on Father’s Day, and a loving mother, too, were these 2 parents. These 2 older folks must possess both character strength and a great love for their afflicted adult child. I think they are living authentically. Contrast their ongoing sacrifices every day with the ego-centrism and selfishness of many younger people. You know the ones who will not brook any inconvenience in their shallow, empty, hedonistic lives. It is no secret now that the vast majority of children who are diagnosed in utero with any serious health issues (such as Down’s syndrome) or deformities are routinely dismembered by abortionists here in the USA. In our degraded culture, there is little respect for the sanctity of innocent life. We seem to have lost our own humanity over the last several decades. (The US, as is Europe, is actually a post-Christian society.)
Caring for a severely handicapped child is a major challenge for any parents anywhere. For the parents who do offer the care day after day, year after year, we must recognize and respect their great personal sacrifices, which cannot be minimized or trivialized.
Suffering has always bothered me as there is so damn much of it in this degraded world that we all are currently serving a life sentence in. My reading up on the major religions of the world seems to always bring me to the conclusion that these all seem to address the problem of suffering by way of blaming the victim(s). Think on that for a moment or two. Whether it is punishment for The Fall (which none of us was present at), or it is our own bad karma* from past lives and past sins or transgressions, blaming the victims of suffering seems to me to be a not very gratifying explanation of the inescapable fact of, and nature of suffering.
(* Some years back, we addressed the problems we see with the law of karma here on this blog.)
Were we created for something better? Or were we created to suffer? On the days when I am in despair, I fear that we were created for suffering. Now, there are at least 2 ways of looking at this as we bring God into the discussion. First, it could be that suffering is how God shows His love for us, at least in this world. (This idea will no doubt upset or offend some self-identifying Christians. But, with so many thousands of permutations of Christianity here in contemporary America, I have lost confidence in many Christians, sorry to say. If readers are offended, so be it.) Second, it may just be, and I do lean towards this possibility, that suffering is the price of God’s glory. It is again on my bad days, my cynical days, that I think we are just pawns or checkers in this never ending competition between God and the Adversary (aka Satan), which may be playing itself out in countless worlds. Who can say?
As to God, Who I do believe in, He either cares very much about what goes on here on this Earth, or He does not care at all. I do not believe in a “luke warm” God. Things can only be made right ultimately if God is truly just, loving and merciful, and does truly care. What tests a person’s faith is that we see so little justice, love and mercy in this world.
I think it is time now to move on to sharing some images from our road trip of more than 3,600 miles over 12 days.
At lunch today (18 June), I got the impulse to take a picture of this lamp in the restaurant. We see it in the next 2 shots,
This shot looks a little more impressive.
Travellng west on Interstate 10 in Texas, through the car’s front windshield, we can see what appears to be limestone in the cut on the side of the road.
At a rest area along the highway, we see that the state of Texas is divided into various regions (with many contrasts across so large a chunk of real estate).
We stayed one night in the town of Junction, Texas along Interstate 10. This was a charming little town.
The motel where we stayed was a ways in from the highway and in the older part of the town.
Lucy, my traveling companion, poses for this shot in a swing like chair.
This was a painting on a wall in our room.
As well, there were painted works just off the exterior door to each room.
Here is another example.
At a cafe in Van Horn, west Texas, I selected the club sandwich. This was made fresh and was quite delicious.
Progressing westward on our return drive, we stopped at a rest area along the highway in Arizona.
A rare image of me.
One of the several informational placards at the rest area.
For tour and destination purposes, the state is also divided into several sections, each having its own attractions.
There were several times when the outside temp touched 102 or 103 or even higher in Arizona, and the southeastern most part of California (Mojave Desert) on our long drive. Although these were the last days of Spring, the heat of summer is definitely coming on now.
A plant in California on our last evening on the road.
As time allows, we hope to get some more pictures up on the blog.
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