I just want to thank everyone who took the time to send me comments yesterday. I had a wonderful time reading them. I especially appreciated the ones were humorous and I laughed out loud a number of times. Those of you who know me well know that I'm not super-serious (and I may overdo it with the puns at times). I started this blog with the intention of just writing about funny things that happen to me and so if feels really, really weird talking about such serious things in what I consider to be a humorous space. Today's post is also very personal. I really questioned whether or not I should post it, but I feel like it's an essential part of my story and so I share it with the permission of Buzz and Ginny Schilaty (who everyone really outta meet because they are way rad). I'll be posting my final coming out post tomorrow and then I'll get back to business as usual on my blog. This post was also written for an audience familiar with Mormonism.
When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment in the law was, He summed up "all the law and prophets" in one word--love. Specifically, to love God and our fellowmen. Paul taught that if we do not have charity, the pure love of Christ, we are nothing. Mormon taught that "whoso is possessed of [charity] at the last day, it shall be well with him." He further explained that the pure love of Christ isn't an unattainable attribute, but that it is "bestowed upon all who are true followers of ... Jesus Christ." And when Christ appears, those who have charity, Christ's pure love, "shall be like him." I would like to share an example of modern day charity.
In 1983 my parents had three children. They were not planning on having another child and were going through some financial difficulties. It was not a convenient time to make an addition to the family. During this time my mother learned that she was pregnant with her fourth child--me. Normally a pregnancy is reason for celebration, but this one was not. When my parents went to the doctor they learned that something was terribly wrong. The doctor informed my parents that because of the way the pregnancy was developing there was a very small chance of me surviving and that if I did survive I would be mentally disabled, handicapped, and most likely be confined to a wheelchair for my entire life. He also told them that my mother's health was in danger and that she would likely not survive. He recommended that they terminate the pregnancy. Understandably distraught by this news, my parents went to a specialist in Seattle and were told the same thing. This doctor, however, gave them better odds that my mom and I could survive, but the prospects were still not good.
My mom didn't know what to do. She didn't feel right ending the pregnancy, but she also didn't want to die. She didn't know how to deal with the situation and so she just pretended that I didn't exist. It was easier to ignore the problem than to face it. One day during this trying time she was driving alone in her car. She suddenly heard a voice say, "Benjamin Schilaty. His name will be Benjamin Schilaty." The voice was so clear that she wondered if it had come through the radio, but it had not. Hearing a voice speak my name gave her the courage she needed to move forward with the pregnancy because she knew that everything would be alright. It is also how I was named.
Deciding to move forward with the pregnancy was going to drastically alter my parents' futures. My mom fully expected that she was going to die and would soon be leaving her husband with four young children. That was not a future she wanted, but she knew it was the right thing to do. My father promised my mother that if I lived he would spend the rest of his life pushing me around in a wheelchair until he couldn't anymore. This is true love. This is charity: a mother willing to literally give her life for her unborn son and a father willing to sacrifice the rest of his life to care for his son. I have never doubted that my parents love me because I know that they were both willing to give their lives for me. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).
My parents didn't have to face this trying time alone. The ward rallied around them and took care of my family during the 45 days my mom was bedridden in the hospital while she was pregnant with me. I could write a whole blog post about my parents were recipients of love. In the end, neither of my parents had to give their life for me. When I was born there was a team of doctors in the room expecting the very worst who were very surprised when I was born healthy and whole. One of the doctors held me up and said, "And to think they wanted to abort this healthy baby."
|My parents and I looking very Mormon|
I have been told this story of how I was named and how I came into this world many times. My parents wanted me to know that not only was I supposed to be born, but that I was supposed to be born the way I was born. They wanted me to know that I was a child of promise and that God put me on this earth exactly as He wanted me to be. The time of my mom's pregnancy with me was a dark, trying time. I don't know why they had to pass through such a tough trial. I don't know why they had to suffer so much. But I do know that they followed the promptings of the Spirit and all was well in the end. That's how it is with all of our trials, no matter the severity. All will be well in the end. And until the end comes when all is well and all is right we can experience a permeating peace in our lives.
Once again, if you have any questions or comments I would prefer that you contact me directly instead of commenting here.