Left to right: Ryan, Jeni (carrying baby #5), Caedmon, Jackson, Andrew, and Toby
By Ryan Sprague
When we embrace the idea that nobody’s normal, we
can begin to embrace the majesty of our unique designs.
Irecently took my family to the Geor- gia Aquarium in Atlanta, where we spent hours admiring God’s creativ- ity in the aquatic world. One exhibit
features a tropical reef tank—a bustling
world of chromatic brilliance. From afar,
the tank is a psychedelic, swimming kaleidoscope. Moving closer, each unique
fish commands attention. A cobalt blue
Palette Surgeonfish (more commonly
known as “Dori”) glides past a canary-yellow Longnose Butterfly fish. Pink and
yellow Bartletts’ anthias are joined by my
favorite of the reef dwellers, the Square-spot Anthias—an eponymous raspberry
sherbet, square-shaped spot marks the
otherwise peach-colored fish.
God’s unmatched creativity was on display, and we all agreed that it was good.
However, one young man profaned the
moment when he said, “That one’s ugly
. . . ,” pointing to a fish Picasso would
have appreciated. The unicorn fish isn’t
like the others. While the exhibit offers
diversity in shape, size, and color, only
this guy, the “ugly” one, features a horn
protruding from the top of its head.
In a tank displaying profound unique-ness, why did that young man feel that
the unicorn fish stood out? And why did
he choose the world ugly to describe it?
One simple word, one destructive idea:
My wife and I welcomed our first
son, Caedmon, into our family in 2004.
Since then, three more boys have joined
the family, and the seventh member of
our family arrives in August. I have five
siblings and my wife has two. We share
three in-laws, and those marriages gave
our boys five cousins. Considering all those
relationships, there are twenty-five people
in our immediate family. When aunts, un-
cles, and cousins are included, the number
climbs to more than fifty. Caedmon is the
only one with cerebral palsy.