This essay is part of our ongoing Faith series where we ask spiritual leaders and parents to answer the questions: “Do you think God gives some children special needs? Do you think he chooses some parents to have special needs kids?” from their unique spiritual perspective. It is our hope that posting answers will encourage discussion but also comfort families who find an answer that resonates with them. Do you want to contribute? Contact Dawn.
Common wisdom holds that if you ask ten Wiccans a question about Wicca, you’ll get twelve answers. We’re a notoriously hard to pin down group. We don’t have a holy book that informs our practice – we have a tradition of passing information from one to another, and comparing notes about our own experiences when it comes to new traditions and practices. So, with that in mind, what I’m about to say is mostly my belief, and may or may not be shared by other Wiccans.
Wicca is a religion that sees the divine as immanent – the divine is a part of each of us, in each rock, each tree, each blade of grass, each insect, and we and the world around us are a part of the divine. The cycles we see around us – the seasons, the moon phases, day and night – lead us to believe that life, too, is a cycle, of birth, life, death, and rebirth. We live this life to experience it – to learn, to teach, to feel, to love…to experience birth and death, and everything in between, and then to come back and try it all again. Much of the broader Pagan community (though certainly not all) holds similar beliefs.
I’ve had to put a lot of thought into how I, as a Wiccan, view the situation I find myself in from a spiritual perspective, with a toddler who was once a micropreemie, smaller than a soda bottle, with lingering lung issues, a tracheostomy and its resulting severe speech delays, and some motor skill issues. And, by extension, how the Wiccan faith, and the broader Pagan community, view disabilities. After all, I am a part of this community of faith, as is my husband and my child, and that means we have to come to grips with where we fit in, tubes and all.
Beyond all the reincarnation and immanent divinity, I believe that the world is not deterministic – that we have free will, as does every other living thing. Things happen that are random – luck, chance, being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time. I also believe that the world, and all in it, while not perfect, are whole. All the variations are just that – variations – neither good nor bad in the big picture. After all, wouldn’t the world be a boring place if we were all alike and all perfect?
But, no matter how things turn out, we are all still children of the God and Goddess – they are still part of us, and we are part of them. And every day, we experience this life, this material world, and if we’re paying attention, we realize how magical and wonderful it really is.
Being a special needs parent has taught me (remember? we’re here to learn!) that I really wasn’t looking at things from that perspective, that I didn’t stop to smell the roses, or watch the sunset, and that I didn’t know what the word miracle meant. I am thankful every day for my son’s existence – for his life, for his improving health, for being able to watch him learn to open his eyes when he was tiny, for all the little things. But mostly, I’m humbled – I’m stronger than I ever thought possible, but my son is even stronger than I am.
Janet is, first and foremost, mom to “Acorn,” a former 27-weeker micropreemie, who at 2 is still sporting a tracheostomy, oxygen, g-tube, and a list of diagnoses a mile long, although many are now hard to see in his behavior and development. In her spare time, Janet works full time as an engineer, and still manages to find time to do some art and some writing. She’s been a seeker for most of the last 15 years, and currently maintains a Wiccan-based practice with her husband and son.
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