"...suffering is one of the universal conditions of being alive. We all suffer. We have become terribly vulnerable, not because we suffer, but because we have separated ourselves from each other." -- Rachel Naoimi Remen

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


As a mother I often fret about my son growing up in a world or attitude of entitlement.  It's a very real issue that I suspect will only become tougher to strive against as the years go on.

At the same time, I'm thankful I'm not part of that 'entitlement' generation.

Wait, what? 

Maybe I'm too old to be a Milenial, by definition. 
    Maybe I know what it means to work hard for what I earn and desire.
        But, let's face it... I'm a little entitled too.  Call it what you want...

This is a intermittent and revolving thought process that's definitely something I struggle with.  (And if you don't think it's something you struggle with, maybe you aren't thinking hard enough.) 

On the one hand, when I think about my unrealized parenting dreams, I feel it's unfair.  "I deserve more." 

On the other hand, I know from having visited and worked briefly in the developing world, that what I have is abundance.  And it's not just the baby monitors and multiple roomed house kind of abundance; I've also been abundantly blessed with my family planning.  I have incredible access to resources, bloodwork, ultrasounds, medicines that have kept me healthy in pregnancy, skilled physicians to perform D&E's and C-sections under sterile conditions.  I enjoy a free society where I appreciated an Aunt who taught us NFP.  There are treatments that although I've opted against are certainly at my disposal. 

I know that those who 'have not' often have a sense of contentment that those of us who 'have' (been priveledged to grow up in the United States) will never be able to capture or fully understand.  The look of sheer joy that comes from a soccer ball will hopefully be something I never forget.  But, again it's not just material things... it's hard to articulate, but the godly people I've met in Central America and Africa have had this undeniable life attitude of "enough."  They don't constantly compare themselves, their children or their husbands to others around them.  They don't struggle with self pity.  The mothers in these situations are perhaps my greatest inspiration.  Take this woman, here:   

Uganda, BMCF, 2008

I'll never forget her story - herself, her husband, the baby she holds and all her children are HIV+.  I remember her telling me about how her husband would never consider using condoms to prevent pregnancy or transmission of disease.  They as parents know that their disease will be perpetuated in their children and there is nothing she can do to prevent it because her husband won't allow anything different.  And although she shared with me sadness for her children's condition, she didn't complain about her husband.  She simply came to our clinic in secrecy to do the little she could to protect her children from illness.  She truly seemed content in the midst of great struggle. 

Most days (most hours of the day), I'm content as well. But even the faintest hint of discontentment seems ridiculous from this perspective. God has given me more than I deserve. 

My family planning situation may not be what I imagined it would be, but it only feels unfair when I compare it to my friends who've had several successful consecutive pregnancies.  When I compare it to the woman above, it seems more than fair. 

Of course, that begs the question, why do we feel the need to compare?  

In short, I am blessed in ways I have never even acknowledged.  Yes, I continue to worry about bearing a child with a fatal trisomy.  But, never once have I worried about my children being born with an incurable infectious disease.   Furthermore, in my little corner of the world, we have seemingly infinite access to resources to help us solve our family planning problems.  Yes, it might require most of our savings to adopt a baby, but we have those savings.  Praise God.  We live in a society with a robust legal system where adoption is possible (albiet cumbersome).  Thank you, Lord.  The list of examples of abundance could go on for paragraphs but that might get tedious... 

I am growing a healthy family.

Praise God indeed. 

Dear Lord,
Today and throughout my entire life,
I've been fortunate.  Privileged.
Save me and those like me from self pity.
Jealousy should have no home in my heart. 
Help us to appreciate our abundance in new ways
each and every day that we get to enjoy your glory.
Help us move towards contentment.
Mindful of the moment,
every comfortable, blessed moment.
Help us to keep our struggles in perspective.
We trust you with this and everything.

No comments:

Post a Comment