Today I feel the need to unburden myself with confession. I have a guilty pleasure. Sigh. Here it is:
Yep. People Magazine. I love it. I love reading the true trash about celebrities and current events. It is mindless entertainment. A bit of escapism, if you will. I wish I could say there was some deep redeeming quality about my relationship with this rag, but I eally can't think of one. About the best thing I could say for it is that I don't pay for it. I don't buy it on the newstand or have my credit card on file, but I snatch up every opportunity for a free trial offer that comes down the pipe, and I have been known to pick them up in doctors' and therapists' offices. The sticker above clearly has my name on it, because I am currently in the middle of a free 3 or 6 month trial. I can't remember which. (Oh, let it be 6!). I hope I'm not giving away any important identity information by showing the pic with that sticker on it, but if you can decipher all of that and would like to donate to the Lauren Sparks People Mag fund, please feel free to call in with YOUR credit card number and extend my subscription.
Now that we have that out of the way, I will get to the real purpose of this blog today. The front page story. Rosemary Kennedy. Being the mom of a child with special needs, I take interest in the stories of others - especially celebrities because, as we've established, I'm a fangirl. I have always been particularly interested in biographies, movies and even museums about the Kennedy family. It was such an interesting time in our nation's history. And yet I am so thankful that Shelby lives in THIS time in history. I devoured this story about the special needs sister of our late President. Even my husband, who does not share my affinity for true trash, picked it up and read it. I was saddened and shocked reading of how the circumstances surrounding her birth probably caused her condition, and how her mental and emotional capacity permanently deteriorated following a lobotomy that her father viewed as "treatment". Afraid that she would embarrass and impede the ambitions of this powerful family, she was hidden away in an institution for decades. Her parents lied about where she was - to the media AND her own siblings. Rosemary's brothers and sisters never knew what had become of her until after their father was incapacitated by a stroke and their mother finally felt free to visit her long, lost daughter. Although cruel by today's standards, this type of treatment was fairly common 100, even just 50 years ago. Those with physical and developmental disabilities were seen as deffective. They didn't have any rights, they weren't worth educating and they often underwent dangerous and misguided medical "treatments". Parents often didn't know what to do with them or were afraid of them (remember the movie Rain Man?), so they sent them off to assylums where they were often abused or neglicted. Shelby's biggest ailment - seizures - were thought by many to be demonic possession.
I am so thankful that now we know better and do better. If Shelby had been born in Rosemary Kennedy's era, we may have been too uneducated to appreciate all of the wonderful things that she is! We might have missed the blessing of her smiles and sense of humor. Her funny noises and her dancing. And her hugs. Ohhhh those hugs from those sweet, loving arms.
Yes, Rosemary Kennedy was born at an unfortunate time in history for the disabled. And yet, good came of it. Her sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics out of a deep love and compassion for her sister. Rosemany's life, although tragic, was an inspiration. And still is. It is because of her that we get to watch my Shelby compete in bowling and track and field events - which she enjoys. And win medals - which she LOVES! The Special Olympics have provided fun, entertainment and a sense of belonging - normalcy even - for the disabled around the world. I am so grateful.
Just as in the life of Rosemary, God can bring good and beautiful things from any tragedy or hardship. Romans 8:28 encourages me: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, wo have been called according to his purpose." To steal the words of another (I don't know who to give credit to), "If God brought you to it, He'll bring you through it." And if I may add on - and then He'll use it. Reader friend, I don't know what difficulty or challenge you are facing today, but I do know it can and will be redeemed by Christ if you allow Him in. My prayer is that if you are feeling discouraged, this bolsters you right where you are. I am praying for you. And if you have requests I can lift up more specifically, please let me know. For His glory.