Of drag queens, homosexuals and con artists

In 1980 my husband and I were on a summer mission in the Caribbean with our church. We went to work with the native people to replace the roof on their old church building, paint the church walls, and help with a Bible School for 200 children. We hadn’t planned on adopting a newborn baby whose mother died in childbirth, but that was exactly what happened. We paid a lawyer on St. Vincent $20.00 US and he did the legal work making her our daughter and then we began the Visa process. I want to introduce you to our daughter, Joyce, because she is the only person I know who consistently lives what I have been writing about the past two days based on Samuel Johnson’s quote

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.

In many ways, Joyce suffers many of the same insults Samuel Johnson had to suffer in his young adulthood. Through many unfortunate events surrounding her birth and sequelae from a birth defect, Joyce was left with both expressive and receptive aphasia. Aphasia is the inability to process information correctly. Psychological testing uncovered that she is only able to understand about 11% of everything she hears. Moreover, she will always be about age 12 in her psychosocial development because of it. She switches from childlike to mature at the snap of your fingers like a pubescent middle-school child does.

Fortunately, however, God has given Joyce gifts in mathematical calculation, physical strength and eye-hand coordination. In this way she has been able to excel in certain areas. She won awards in athletics in school and in organizational excellence as a supply supervisor in the Navy. However, her inability to understand and her immature behaviors have made her the brunt of many a cruel joke orchestrated by  sadistic people of all ages, including teachers. We stopped giving her birthday parties with external invitations when no one would show up even though we’d invite her whole Sunday School class and ask the parents to please bring their daughters for Joyce’s special day. She was abused on the bus riding to school and taunted on the play ground. She was punished for things she didn’t do because she didn’t understand she was being set up. As I read about Samuel Johnson, I think about Joyce.

No matter how Joyce is treated, she always loves in return. I marvel at that. Perhaps it is her “defect,” her brain scramble, but she holds no malice. Sometimes I ache inside for her, but she is who she is, and with all that is “wrong” with her, she certainly has the love part right. At the end of Joyce’s time in high school people crowded around her and wrote beautiful things in her year book. They wrote, “I am sorry, Joyce, for how I treated you. You always treated me kindly and I was never nice to you.” Another said, “I will always remember how you loved everyone. Have a good life. You deserve it.” These comments went on and on for pages. Joyce had made a difference in her high school!

Joyce is now 31 years old. She is still a master organizer, woman of incredible physical strength and she sleeps with Sponge Bob under her Nemo blanket. As an adult, she, like Samuel Johnson, surrounds herself with those who accept her: drag queens, homosexuals, and con artists who know when she gets paid. I thank God every day for her good friend, Mary, who shares apartment expenses with her and watches over her. He answered a mother’s prayer.

Now lest you think, I am looking down upon those parents of children in Joyce’s Sunday School class because they wouldn’t bring their daughters to a “less than perfect child’s” birthday party, I urge you to come back tomorrow where I show you I.am.that.parent.

Learning to love,



8 comments on “Of drag queens, homosexuals and con artists

  1. Once again, I am just overwhelmed at the thought of God as the Weaver of all of our lives, and how he brought this beautiful child into your life, Dawn. There is probably no one on earth who could have made a match so perfectly, and what you have given each other is just beyond words. I’m not sure who I want to hug more. . . Joyce or YOU! Reading this has made me want to meet you (and now Joyce) even more. I count it a special, one in a million, type of blessing to have met you here, and today confirmed that and raised the value of knowing you by one thousand percent! I’m so glad I stopped by. Blessed beyond measure doesn’t begin to describe how I feel right now.

  2. Dear Cora,

    I was concerned all day about releasing this post about my dear Joyce. I don’t want her to think she is an oddity, but she certainly is unique in many ways. Sometimes I see the face of Christ in her eyes. She is just such an innocent, yet so very wise. I can’t believe she came to live with me. Perhaps it’s because of my husband. He LOVED the babies in the Caribbean. He’d have brought them all home if he could have done so.

    We are going to meet one another, Cora. This is so clear to me. We will have to keep our eyes open for the way. I believe Jesus cares that we meet. We must. Your comment relieved me of my concern over this post.

    I love you, Cora,

  3. I love this post, Dawn . . . it reveals so much about you (and your DH). Your precious daughter, uniquely crafted by God, sounds a lot like Him . . . happy to associate with those society would deem less than or not worthy of attention. Too many of the ways that our society measures normal or acceptable have nothing to do with the things God is interested in. What an honour you were given to raise this special lady.

  4. Dear Andrea Dawn,

    You would so get this because I see how YOUR daughter cares for those whom society would deem less than. Aren’t we all so “less than” in some way or another? I am so late in coming to so much of this. When I see Susan’s granddaughter run because Shoshanna would not accept less. When I see my Abby read when they placed her in special education at age 6 saying she’d never read. When I read of Samuel Johnson and Joseph Merrick (The Elephant Man) and so many others, I pray to really see. I know that is a dangerous prayer, but sometimes The Dark Night is the only way. I want to be around those who came here every day because iron sharpens iron and we’re a tough bunch here.

    Love you,

  5. Dear Dawn,

    I left, a few days ago, a waaaaay toooo long response on your Feb. 19 post. Then realized I was not on your most current posts, so came here. Dawn, I am so touched by what you wrote on this page and about Samuel Johnson. I am so very glad you shared these things with us. I am inspired on a day when I badly need it. Thank you for lifting my face up to see another view. I so brokenly need it.

    Many blessings to you, and prayers for you continue.
    With love,

  6. Thank you, too, for linking us to William Law’s book. I WILL go read that tomorrow…maybe even stay up late tonight.

    • Dear A,

      I really want to get to William Law this weekend, too. I had to finish this, sparked by Samuel Johnson and the weekend is just posting pictures and light fun stuff so I should be able to manage Wm Law EXCEPT I have to study CPR….grrrrr want to work on completely different heart issues! Ha!

      I did read your long post and it blessed my heart. I just didn’t quite know how to respond so I just kept doing this. I bet I missed helping in some way. I am infamous for that. I pray you gained insight just typing it out, though. I think typing thoughts on a screen is very therapeutic. Sometimes what I type at Craig’s opens up the thought processes I need to begin to take action. This whole Samuel Johnson “thing’ came about in that way. I wonder where I am headed?

      Bless you, A,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s