Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A True Story of God's Provision

An American playwright, known not only for his highly acclaimed works ("Death of a Salesman," "The Crucible") but also for his marriage to the world's most famous screen siren, dies without admitting to the big secret in his life...the son with Down syndrome whom he institutionalized soon after birth. But after the playwright's death, it's discovered that he left his son a portion of his enormous wealth equal to that of his siblings, and now his son is set for life financially.

You know what struck me after reading this true story? How God looked out for the young man with Down his life turned out to be full of the love of others, even though his earthly father rejected him.

A friend of mine and I (we both have children with Ds) recently discussed wills and special needs trusts. She reminded me that God loves our boys and will look out for them. This article told me the same thing.

As a writer, I also found the ramifications of this father's act to be especially interesting:

It would be easy to judge Arthur Miller harshly, and some do. For them, he was a hypocrite, a weak and narcissistic man who used the press and the power of his celebrity to perpetuate a cruel lie. But Miller's behavior also raises more complicated questions about the relationship between his life and his art. A writer, used to being in control of narratives, Miller excised a central character who didn't fit the plot of his life as he wanted it to be. Whether he was motivated by shame, selfishness, or fear—or, more likely, all three—Miller's failure to tackle the truth created a hole in the heart of his story. What that cost him as a writer is hard to say now, but he never wrote anything approaching greatness after Daniel's birth. One wonders if, in his relationship with Daniel, Miller was sitting on his greatest unwritten play.

Who knows if he could have gotten his greatest play out of it? What matters is that he missed out on knowing his son, which was an enormous price to pay:

He had a bank account and a job, first at a local gym and then at a supermarket. He went to parties and concerts, and he loved to go out dancing. He was also a "natural athlete," says one social worker. He learned to ski, and competed in the Special Olympics, in that sport as well as in cycling, track, and bowling. "Everyone loved Danny," says Rich Godbout, who ran the supported living program. "His greatest joy was helping people. He would insist. If someone needed help moving, Danny was always the first guy to volunteer to help."....

Some wonder why Arthur Miller, with all his wealth, waited until death to share it with his son. Had he done so sooner, Daniel could have afforded private care and a good education. But those who know Daniel say that this is not how he would feel. "He doesn't have a bitter bone in his body," says Bowen. The important part of the story, she says, is that Danny transcended his father's failures: "He's made a life for himself; he is deeply valued and very, very loved. What a loss for Arthur Miller that he couldn't see how extraordinary his son is."


Renae said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I got chills reading about this son who has no bitterness towards his father. Then tears tried to squeeze their way to the surface.

It's always heart breaking to me when fathers miss out of having a relationship with their children. May those children follow Danny's example and live a life full of love anyway.

Amy said...

What a story of God's faithfulness to ALL His children!

Barbara Frank said...

Glad you both enjoyed the article. Arthur Miller sure missed out, didn't he?