Yeah, of course I’d visit with Annemarie. I didn’t know her, but I knew her parents. We’ve long been members of the same Episcopal parish.
She was interested in journalism as a career. She hoped to ask me some questions (as if an old warhorse from the linotype/wuxtry-wuxtry-read-all-about-it era could make bold to portray the character of journalism in the FaceBook/Twitter age).
So we met and talked. She wasn’t what I expected. She was better: a kid with Down syndrome whose mission and commitment flowed freely from the chambers of her heart.
The law of the land said she didn’t have to be here; her parents were free agents under Roe v. Wade. Slightest hint of “deformity” or any other non-usual condition—fine with the learned justices if the parents decided . . . well, you know. You certainly should. We argue the question in season and out, and with added volume in a political year: a woman’s “right” to control her body, to cancel any seeming obligation to bear a life she finds, for one reason or another, disagreeable to her.
We’ve heard less of the dispute so far this year than we otherwise might, inasmuch as Donald Trump seems not unduly invested in the question and Hillary Clinton is for the whole feminist agenda, down the line, no exceptions. Wait ’til she gets to fill the late Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat, and two or three more seats, then proceeds to slam the door on challenges to Roe. That’ll show ’em! Right?
Depends maybe on what you mean by “showing.”
Annemarie showed me plenty on the day we met: grace and charm and intelligence inside the framework of a spirit the High Court sees as no spirit at all; something more resembling a mere intake of breath; a sneeze, perhaps.
I picked up recently the parish magazine and its account of Annemarie’s accomplishments: written by her in a lucid English her non-protected status under Roe v. Wade might not have led the High Court to predict.
“I’ve always gone to Sunday school and youth group,” she writes, “and when I became old enough I started going on mission trips. I discovered my love for serving the poor in our neighborhood through ministries like Austin Street Center and Angel Tree . . .
“My experiences at Incarnation have really shaped me into a person of faith. It may have taken a while, but with the help of my friends and family, I’ve come to realize that ‘I am special in God’s way—He loves me just the way I am.’ This church keeps me grounded in God’s spirit. The sermons . . . inspire me to be bold and carry the name of God out into the world . . .
“I decided to blog about my experiences to help other people have a better understanding of life from the perspective of a person with Down syndrome. I hope this blog will reach young parents with children who have Down syndrome and reassure them their children will live productive and happy lives . . . Recently, I learned of my spiritual gifts: Mercy, Hope, and Shepherding. They all make good sense—I’ve always had a passion for serving the poor. This fall when I return to [college] I will have a little bit better understanding of how I can share my gifts as a future journalist. I want to travel the world and tell the stories of the poorest people. I want to tell them they are special and God loves them. I want to carry the name of God out into the world.”
Election’s over. Sorry, Mrs. Clinton, you didn’t win. Annemarie did. Hands down.
Annemarie’s blog can be accessed at www.emilyacarrigan.com