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The Sightless, Wordless, Helpless Theologian

How our daughter's brief life showed us eternity.

If a theologian is one who communicates the nature of God, one of the most effective theologians I've ever met was a child who never spoke a word.

When Mandy was born, the first utterance by the attending physician was "uh-oh." Then, "We need to measure that head."

To me, the proud father, this baby daughter looked as normal as our previous two. But to a neonatalogist's well-calibrated eye, the head seemed small. And he was right. Instead of a normal 35 cm circumference, Mandy's checked in at 31 cm.

We soon learned that Mandy's condition was called microcephaly (small brain), and it might cause some mental limitations. But over the next few months, we realized the severity of those limits. Mandy faced severe and profound retardation.

At first, we prayed that Mandy's skills would develop. But my wife, Susan, and I eventually had to accept the implications: Mandy would never talk, walk, sit up, or use her hands. She suffered frequent seizures. Cataracts ...

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