A spousal tribute to GrannymomHere it is a blustery cold February morning, and instead of re-loading the wood stove & convincing it to pump out hellish amounts of heat I am sitting at a computer keyboard and typing out my thoughts. Yes, I do have them now and again, despite my facial expression that generally registers a "duhhhhh?" look. (Note, to be spoken starting in a low tone, ending with a higher tone.)
To what do I attribute this moment of cold-tolerating diversion? Blame the Maclean’s magazine. Now from time to time, despite Canada Post's best efforts, it arrives on time on Friday - giving me Friday, Saturday & Sunday to browse its (usually) informative pages in my designated "reading room" (a.k.a. the bathroom.) This week featured an article on how some parents regard the loss of unborn children, and the emotional roller-coaster some feel after the event.Now, I can tell you that before the last of our children was born, we (as husband/wife, father/mother) suffered the unexpected termination of a pregnancy, blaming what we understood as the extreme emotional upheaval caused by the imminent death of my mother-in-law, and the several weeks my wife spent at her mother's trying to aid/comfort her dying parent. Nevertheless, the memory of these sad events caused me to reflect on what I would tell this unborn one about the "family" he/she would be a part of, had not circumstances been as they were.
Let me begin by reminding the reader that many years ago, a decision was reached that this husband and wife team would have as many children as the Lord would permit. This DOES NOT mean that we regard those of a different personal persuasion of being sinful or lacking in any spiritual competence.Having "lots" of kids has brought (mostly) joy and (sometimes) not so much! It has been an exercise of overwhelming trust and confidence in the Lord, beginning with the prayerful request (prior to each pregnancy) that the Lord in His mercy and grace would grant that the soon-to-be-child would find favour in His sight and "be" a Christian. This was done from a purely selfish motive. As a "Christian" family, the hope was that the combined "Christian-ness" would be an influence for good, to both the family as a unit and the broader community at large.
Of such are the plans of mice and men! The problem with dreams of this sort is that the reality of the in-born sinful nature of mankind as a whole becomes more and more apparent. This becomes more and more of a reality in close proximity. It is no vain observation that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" - it is only in day-to-day proximity that the Christian context of "as iron sharpens iron" becomes apparent. Sparks fly. Tempers rage. Mean-spirited things are said - and remembered - for far too longer than is required. Forgiveness becomes conditional, if given at all. Why is it that the "bad" memories outlast the "good" memories? As we age, the absence makes the heart grow fonder changes to "absence make the heart grow stronger in contempt" and "Oh what a relief it is (that I don't have to put up with your face, and by the way, GET OUT OF MY FACE, BITCH!)"This is where I am extremely thankful for my spouse. She is a high-spirited crusader to my lackluster attempts. She is reconciliatory and expects the same from me. I often and mostly disappoint her in that regard! I usually try to see the opposing view in an attempt to diffuse a bubbling/boiling/turbulent situation. Generally I am not very good at that either!
I say with great sadness that I see the beginnings of a great breach in this family's Christian cohesiveness. Unfortunately, the ones at the heart of the breech are, in relative terms, ignorant, alas, blissfully ignorant, of the damage being done - not only to the "family" as a unit, but to the over-all Christian testimony of the family collectively and individually. This process, in my estimation, began over a year ago, for reasons that I will not get into here, apart from an oblique comment regarding inflated egos.
So what would I say to the unborn one? In much love I would say, "Listen to my wife. Expect Godly counsel. She’s in it for you, and for the Lord. Love your brothers and sisters. Forgive the pettiness as it rears its ugly head. Expect and understand “sibling rivalry”. Be bold, yet tempered in your Christian speech. “Slow to speak, slow to wrath." Practice and contemplate love and what it looks like. Be different. Honour your mother and your father. Use triple-ply bathroom tissue – it’s worth the extra! Finally, welcome to the family, flawed as it is, there is hope...