Sunday, December 14, 2008
The weekend draws to a close and I will take my grandson to his new house. Then I'll come home - my ideas of many things I could do today have dwindled down, to "I'm tired, give me my house and quiet."
This coming week we have a choir special to attend - its excellent, short and a prelude to Christmas vacation. I have found the misplaced Christmas presents and found I only have three more people to take care of, and they need money so that should be easy. My older grandchildren, ideally, I would like to take each to lunch separately, listen to them, then take them to buy a new outfit of clothing and then grace them with a little money. They are becoming adults. I want to know more about who they are now.
It is possible they would rather take the money and shop with their friends....that would be as it should be as they get ready to become separate while still a part of a family and discover their own lives, ways, friends, and choices.
Family - why do people have children? I had them because I wanted to. I couldn't articulate any reason. It's what people do. Now I look back and see that there are lots of options. Then, I didn't think it through before having kids. "How will I raise them, what will schooling cost, am I patient enough," and in case of couples, "what if something happens to/with my other, can I raise children alone?" I did not even ask the question - does my "other" have the character and want to when it comes to being a parent? Important question that! Am I able and willing to love unconditionally? Is my chosen career compatible with having children? What is my priority, career or children, absolute freedom of movement? Wow.
There are also lots of reasons not to have children: You need someone to love you (what will you do when a very ticked off kid looks you in the eye and says "I hate you!" - They probably don't mean it - if they do, run, don't walk the family into counseling), a family line of addictions, do you want to bring children into the world to battle most of their life - I would think twice, our increasingly pressured world and increasing amount of horrible crimes - fear is a reason not to have children. Realizing my own limitations or goals - do they include children?
I have a friend who prayed and prayed for a child, when one became available she realized that her priority was her ministry and she didn't feel she could do both justice - I respect her for having the guts to articulate her decision and stand by it with her head held high. She is wise. And, definitely not less of a person - her sphere of influence is far beyond a house with children, she is a brilliant person with many, many people she touches along her way. Her choice was neither good nor bad socially, but personally, she chose what was good for her and should be respected for the courage to choose as she did.
On the other hand, with children, there is something very satisfying about that feeling of continuity - of looking at all those who came from you (whether by natural birth or adoption) sitting around a table in all their beauty and glory of existence. I wonder, more so now, I believe that we exist in heaven before coming here - why else would God say that we were known before we were born? And if so, we are here for a reason. We are not guaranteed life without pain - the vast majority of parents want to protect their children from pain - but if we could do that, wouldn't they be shocked when as adults they faced their first big heart break? Having children is agreeing to take a chance on heart break like you never dreamed heart break could exist. It's also taking on a bouquet of love that overflows your arms, more than you can ever hold by any method, other than in your heart.
What about kids who have come here and suffered incredibly? Maybe that person, soon to be child and God had a conversation and the person agreed to come to give certain people a chance at becoming incredibly better humans - but the people didn't take the gift, instead became worse and abused the gift. I don't know. I don't know. I do know because of my son, though he went back "home" early, he gave me an incredible gift....of meeting God. Not just myself, but the rest of my family as well.
My heart is often broken about stories of children in harm's way. But I do know that life is so very very short compared with the eternal....do we exist eternally....how could we not......I have been studying quantum physics as much as my poor mind will absorb and most agree that there has to be an intelligence behind the design of the universe. Accidents are chaos. Just the mere fact that we sit here with a beating heart, faithfully beating, day after day, year after year is not chaos. I don't know all the answers - I only know after many times reflecting on my son not living past 27, that I will know someday, but I do know how He longed to meet God face to face, he left the most awesome poetry about those meetings - that I can't make any judgements, I can only wait for my answers.
In the meantime, I am grateful for the lessons, the love, the messes, the joy, the fun, the tears, the pride, even the problems that all come bundled up with choosing to have children - I would have never done it differently, only perhaps planned more wisely to make their lives better, but maybe that wasn't my choice, maybe they chose me, maybe God chose me.