Why did I ever have a child?
And the whole congregation fell apart laughing... That was the opening gambit our priest threw out today. Of course everyone wonders this - especially when your child is throwing a tantrum in the middle of the store or giving your the silent treatment or just being a crabby pre-teen. Why did I ever have a child?????
There was a baptism this morning, a baby a few months old. Old enough to protest when it was time to be sprinkled. Old enough to object to being anointed. And when it was time to present her to the congregation, her friendliness with the priest before the service disappeared as she clung to her mother.
Father R was non-plussed. In fact, there was a bounce in his step and a joyful note in his voice that I hadn't seen before. It was catching. I listened to the sermon with interest.
Most people don't really think about why they want a baby. Is it an urge to have a piece of you that belongs to the future? Is it DNA? There are so many arguments against having one. All you have to do is look at the world around you. Bad economies. Homelessness. Crime. Pollution. The world is going downhill and why on earth would you want to bring a child into such a place?
But of course, there is the reason. The one reason that actually makes sense.. Children are the one hope the world has. Every child born has the possibility of being the one who discovers the cure, who invents the clean technology, the one who turns the world around - into the place it could be.
I didn't think I'd ever have a child. I never actually tried to have one, though I'd managed to get pregnant several times. I lost every one and thought that was it for me. Which was okay, because really, who in their right mind would bring a child into this world. And then, the happy accident that became my son - and I saw all the possibilities for him and for the world begin to unfold.
In the service today, we the congregation vowed to help this child be all that she could be. My responses to the charges were heartfelt and I think it was that way for a lot of the people there today. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone took the same attitude toward every child?
With the help and care of every person, each child really could be the hope of the world.