When I was single and childless (which seems like an eternity ago…probably because it was over a decade ago and I was pretty much a teenager), anyway I had very little problem watching movies that involved some blood and death. I don’t mean in the horror sense, but I would go watch some war movies and thrillers and all that kind of stuff. I seldom do that now, and why you ask? because of the two little blondies I brought into this world.
I’m too sensitive now. Now when I see men dying in a war on the big screen I think of that man’s family. Forget it, if the movie involves a child that has been put in some sort of danger. With having kids comes a real heightened awareness of the horrible world we live in. And it all becomes personal.
My husband read me a quote from one of his many family ministry books and it is what inspired todays post.
It is very difficult to stay up all night rocking a sick child, cooling her fevered brow, changing her soiled linen, rubbing her fragile body with ointments, praying unceasingly for her healing – and return to your corporate suite on the twenty-something floor and sign the order to lay off ten thousand workers. . . . After listening to the sound of your toddlers erratic breathing all night, its pretty hard to sit in a senate chamber and vote for measures that threaten our environment and the health of our children’s children. . . . We cannot survive with our hearts whole if we insist on liberating ourselves from the tasks of caregiving and nurturing. (Weems 1996)
Now please understand me, what I am not saying is that childless men and woman are cold-hearted snakes (sorry for the Paula Abdul reference…what can I say, I’m a child of the 80’s) who do all the heartless things in this world. I personally know people with no children who are compassionate nurturing folks. And that is my very point. They are that way because they haven’t hid themselves from the action of care. They have welcomed the opportunity to serve others with nurturing love and compassion.
What I am talking about is us as a people, a family and a society not being ones who avoid the opportunity to nurture.
Being a parent doesn’t automatically make us ‘good’. But it can (if we allow it) give the ammunition we need to do some good.
Because watching your confused preschooler throw up all night long is not easy or something you pray to God would happen. But it is something that slowly changes you. It works on your heart and moves your character towards Godliness. It is something that brings you to fight for things like the unjust acts against children. It makes you feel the heartache of natural disasters in other communities. All of that becomes personal.
And hopefully it will push us to action.
The family unit that was designed by God could be unstoppable in bringing good into the world, if we only knew it.
Picture taken by Anita Chapman.