Generation Cedar

Starkly contrasted against the backdrop of our culture of death, is a remarkable, unbelievable story–a breath of fresh air.

I saw the movie years ago, and yesterday, we started reading the book May’s Boy again. If you’ve not read it, DO. It is hands-down the most inspiring and miraculous story I’ve ever heard.

May received a call in 1952 about a boy given up for adoption because of his severe defects, and no one would take him. He was already sentenced to death with severe glaucoma, mental retardation and cerebral palsy (later he would be diagnosed with autism as well). The doctors had to remove his eyes and he was given the prognosis of a “vegetable” if he did miraculously survive.

May named him Leslie. She said every child was a gift and deserved someone to love him. She poured her life into him. And what’s more, she never gave up despite virtually no sign of hope for the first seven years. He lay lifeless with only a heart beat for those years.

Once she saw him move, she decided to strap him to her back and drag him around so he could feel her walk. She never thought he actually would learn. He stood for the first time at age fifteen, and soon began walking.

Then one night she woke to hear what she thought was the tv left on with a piano concerto being played. It was Leslie. Not only was he playing concert-level pieces perfectly, but also singing in the most beautiful baritone voice. He had never yet spoken a word, and could barely hold his cup.

May had prayed one simple prayer for Leslie all his life: “Lord, remember to do something for Leslie.” More than what He did for Leslie was what he did for thousands who still see Leslie and know that God is God.

Her amazing love for “the least of these” laughs in the face of “intelligent reasons for abortion”. Every time I hear someone sing a sad song about babies who are better off aborted, I think of Leslie, and others like him.

There was one woman who loved God more than her own life, lost her life to save it, never gave up, and who saw even a lifeless human form as a gift from God.

(BTW, if “defects” were an appropriate gauge of who should live or die, Beethoven would have been aborted, along with a list a half mile long. God doesn’t make mistakes, and His purposes often blow our theories out of the water. We sorely miss the mark when we assert our “reasoning” over the divine sacredness of life. There is never a reason to kill an innocent human.)

Here’s May and Leslie:

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31 Responses

  1. THANK YOU for posting this!!! I remember seeing the movie made about Leslie’s life when I was a child. The story has stayed with me all of the years. EVERY human has the right to live!!!

  2. Laura Ashley,

    What point is your question supposed to make? The point that has always been true is that humans don’t have the jurisdiction to decide who deserves to live. A man who grows up to do terrible things (and Hitler is one among millions) in no way justifies our ability to choose to abort human life (????)

    Frankly, that’s one of the most far-fetched connections I’ve ever heard.

  3. “Frankly, that’s one of the most far-fetched connections I’ve ever heard.”

    All I did was ask a question. Nothing implied, nothing connected.

  4. “no way justifies our ability to choose to abort human life “

    Then using a story like this doesn’t justify being against abortion.

    I have said before, I’m no fan of abortion. But you have to use critical thinking skills too.

  5. Thank you for sharing that. I was crying all the way through, and hugging my little boy who has severe speech delays (who was given only a 80-85% chance of being born). What a message of hope!

  6. I am choked up as I read this. Thank you for sharing. What a moving story, and a powerfully convicting testimony to the sanctity of all human life.
    ~Bethany

  7. Laura Ashley – I don’t understand how you do not consider a story like this to be an appropriate tool to argue against the justification of abortion. Kelly wasn’t posting it as a piece of “critical thinking,” as you put it. It seems to me she was intending to appeal to our hearts rather than our heads. This story shows that a person who was considered to be a “vegetable” still revealed himself to be in every way human. The story of Leslie reminds us that life is sacred and that, even in cases that seem like mere medical issues that can be easily remedied through extremination, a human being is still a human being. Who would have the right to say to Leslie that his life is not precious, just because he’s not “normal”? This is the moral of the story, and I find it to be more than adequate, though perhaps it is not wholly rational.
    ~Bethany

  8. Laura Ashley,

    With all due respect, “critical thinking” is exactly what I think is missing from your question, which seemed to be an implied assumption that abortion should be a consideration in light of “evil people” who are born.

    On the contrary, this story implodes the theory that defective babies are a waste, or unwanted, or can’t contribute. And no, human achievement or destruction should not be a gague of one’s deserving to live. All humans deserve to live, Hitler included.

    But Leslie’s story gives a much different perspective to the common notion we are fed that defective humans are less.

  9. “It seems to me she was intending to appeal to our hearts rather than our heads.”

    Exactly!

    So if you can use “Should Beethoven have been aborted?” then the other side can say “Should Hitler have been aborted?”. Sorry it just doesn’t work and an agrument.

  10. “which seemed to be an implied assumption that abortion should be a consideration in light of “evil people” who are born”

    If you can use “Should Beethoven have been aborted?” then the other side can say “Should Hitler have been aborted?”.

    “”critical thinking” is exactly what I think is missing from your question”

    I think you are getting mad because you know I’m right here.

  11. Laura Ashley,

    LOL! I’m certainly not mad, and I certainly don’t think you’re right…I think you’re confused, and I know you have me confused! I think you just enjoy an argument 😉

    If I can make any sense of what you’re trying to say, I’ll get back to you.

  12. Word Warrier,
    I assure you that I am not confused at all. I’ll try to make it more clear. Sorry you don’t understand. And yes I do like to agrue when I see someone else is using a bad one.

    You are trying to agrue that abortion is wrong based on Beethoven’s story. BUT when you do that the other side can the easily then agrue for abortion based on Hitler’s story.

  13. Laura Ashley,

    OK…I got it. The problem with that logic is that these comparisons are both circumstantially and ethically UNEQUAL.

    One can’t determine what a person will do in his lifetime in order to prevent him from doing it (Hitler). And one can’t determine what a person might do in his lifetime despite medical prophecy that he isn’t capable (Leslie/Beethoven).

    But more importantly the decision to abort or not to abort are not the same ethically. One is murder, the other is not. So the grounds for arguing are uneven already.

    Does that make any sense?

  14. LA,

    I should have added, I’m not trying to argue that abortion is wrong based on stories like these…we already know abortion is wrong. These stories just strengthen the fact that every human life has worth and value despite what pro-choice people like to make us think. In other words, a person’s defectiveness is never a reason to consider him less worthy of living.

    And I would add that Hitler’s life didn’t make him any more worthy of death in the womb–he was still innocent then.

  15. This is why I believe that every person who thinks abortion should be outlawed should have at least one foster child.

    Being a foster parent is truly a calling!

  16. “the other side can the easily then agrue for abortion based on Hitler’s story”

    How could you use Hitler or *anyone* as an argument since you cannot see the future of a child while it is in the womb?

    I don’t see this as a logical argument “for” abortion either.

    It is “grasping for straws”.

    Sorry, I just don’t see how this has anything to do with the miracle of Leslie’s life.

    Life is sacred… and a precious child is not a “woman’s body” or “choice”. Whether it is in the womb or outside the womb.

    I am sorry if you know someone or has someone close to you that you are trying to defend. I hurt for those young girls who have been lied to, and made to feel there was no other way.

  17. While we are using our critical thinking skills. What is the only difference between Hitler and someone who decides to abort their unborn child? Quantity. Both have decided that a person is no longer fit (for whatever reason) to live.

    As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    Hitler, a person who aborts their baby, you, and me are (were) all sinners in need of a Saviour.

  18. Laura: Hitler was evil because of his choices. We can’t, and could not have, predicted his choices. No one knows the potential that each child holds, for good or for ill. Her argument is incredibly valid, because the kind of defects that child had would have been evident in the womb (had ultrasound technology been available). Hitler’s evilness would not have been.

    And you know, we couldn’t have predicted that Leslie would grow up to overcome many obstacles and be such an inspiration. That’s really just part of the point. We can’t predict or know what potential each human holds, regardless of gender (as is discriminated in countries where boys are valued more than girls), regardless of “defects”, regardless of actions.

    Should Hitler have been aborted? No. Maybe he should have been hugged more, but not aborted. Should he have been punished for his actions? Yes. Actions and abilities are different things.

  19. Wow! That woman is a saint, and that boy has incredible talents for one who has suffered SO much! I am awe-struck! What an incredible story! Thank you for sharing this today. I have tears in my eyes now, literally. I will definately have to read that book. Who is the author?

  20. I just cried as I watched this. It is amazing what Leslie can do, but what struck me even more was the woman who gave her all to raise and love him no matter what the cost to her. And the man who sat beside her. It did not mention him, but he was the one who worked and provided so she could be with Leslie and love him. I’m sure he loved him too with all his heart. I know the angels must have truly rejoiced when they both entered heaven and their reward must have been great.

  21. I had not heart of Leslie and May before. Thank you for posting about them. Our church just had Sanctity of Life Week, and Pastor Piper had a terrific message that is worthy of being read/watched. Also, a short video was shown called, “You’re Holding A Miracle,” which in vivid pictures shows the gift that each child is, from conception on up. Here’s the link to the message:http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByDate/2009/3528_The_Baby_in_My_Womb_Leaped_for_Joy/
    The short video can be found here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJETjte7Os8
    I think you’ll like both, based on what I’ve read of your writings.

    Blessings to You!
    Erica

  22. madgebaby – What the?!

    “This is why I believe that every person who thinks abortion should be outlawed should have at least one foster child.”

    So, what? Surely I misunderstand you! By by treasuring human life as sacred, we must then prove our legal worth by fostering a child? The way I see it, a child deserves to be defended whether or not someone does fostering. And there are many, many christians who are not just fostering, but adopting, the hard-to-place, waiting, “high-needs” children, who never get any recognition, or even notice. You’re knowledge of them or lack thereof dosen’t negate the value (or reduce the frequency) of their work. Do more of those children need loving homes? Of course! But right-to-life dosen’t hinge on whether a christian does absolutely everything he could.

  23. Yeah, something does seem off. First she says that anyone who wants to outlaw abortion should foster, then she says fostering is a calling. Something’s not holding up…

  24. Why would Hitler have been aborted? He was the healthy, wanted son of adult, married parents.

    Do we look at children of 5 or 6 years, how they play with their peers, and target the outcasts and the bullies for destruction? This is a better way to get rid of the Hitlers of the world. Maybe we should extend that into early puberty–after all, with those hormones flowing, some young men display some disturbing tendencies.

    Killing a child in the womb is no less reprehensible than killing a four-year-old or a sixteen-year-old. It would have been no better if Hitler had died in the womb than if he had been killed as a newborn or teenager. Killing him in the womb would have been wrong, just as any reasonable person would agree that killing a three-year-old is wrong, no matter what violent tendencies the three-year-old had.

    The issue at question here is the issue of children with severe disabilities. I have never heard an argument that a child with severe disabilities be killed because he might be the next Hitler. The argument tends to focus on quality of life. Kelly’s post focuses on the fact that it is not possible to predict quality of life; that one cannot guess what talents even a severely disabled human being may one day possess, or what lives they might touch.

    Once a single teenaged girl conceived a child. Not only was she an unwed mother, but the child was predicted to suffer horribly and die. She was engaged, but the child was not her fiance’s and he planned to leave her. She was a poor girl from a very conservative family, so they would probably not be very supportive.

    Her response:
    “I am the Lord’s servant”
    “May it be to me as you have said.”

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