Accepting People as our Own

A story is told about a soldier who was finally coming home from the Vietnam War. He called his parents, giving them the good news and said he had a friend he’d like to bring home with him.

“Sure,” they replied, “we’d love to meet him.” Then he explained that his friend had got serious injuries from a land mine and lost an arm and a leg.  He had nowhere else to go, and wanted him to come and live with them.  “I’m sorry to hear that, son. Maybe we can help him find somewhere to live.”

“No, Mom and Dad, I want him to live with us,” he responded.  “Son,” said the father, “you don’t know what you’re asking.  Someone with such a handicap would be a terrible burden on us.  We have our own lives to live.  I think you should just come home and forget about this guy.  He’ll find a way to live on his own.”

At that point, the son hung up the phone but a few days later, they received a call from the San Francisco police.  Their son had died after falling from a building, they were told. The police believed it was suicide.  The grief-stricken parents flew to San Francisco and were taken to the city morgue to identify the body of their son.  They recognized him, but to their horror they also discovered something they didn’t know,... their son had only one arm and one leg.