Monday, June 05, 2006When you can't muster a one-liner
I'm sure the topic will come up time and again on this blog about our experiences in the public eye. I want to only offer a tiny reflection that might help us stave off any unbecoming remarks from critics. I have two young boys and an obvious third child on the way; in my eyes we are a small family. Maybe it's that I am a young mother or that my children are both rambunctious, loving toddlers, but I seem to attract all kinds of unsolicited comments regarding my family size (already!) and inquiries into future "precautions" I might be taking to prevent more children.
I've always said that I would be delighted to sit down with ANYONE who is willing and express to them my views of life and sexuality and my relationship with God's creative hand. Frankly, people don't really want to hear this and secondly, we often have just a few seconds to make our point in response to "Are all these kids yours?" or "You're getting your tubes tied this time right?" Now, like many people, I'm one of those who thinks of something brilliant to say after I dwell on the incident much later...and am unfortunately left in the moment stumbling out some half-hearted reply about my "blessings." Then I silently start blasting myself for not being witty enough to come up with a reply that really does justice to the topic of being open to life.
What bothers me most about such encounters is that while I know my choices are right and am confident in whom God has called me to be and am in love with my family... I still struggle to not feel a sense of shame trotting into the post office with my pregnant belly and two boys (especially since my husband is deployed and I feel/look like a "single" mother sometimes). I know I shouldn't care about what the world thinks of me in this sense, but I still sometimes feel embarrassed that I am not the archetype of a perfect American... one who waited until mid-twenties to get married and had one boy and one girl (spaced 3 years apart).
Well, a nice mother of a large brood reminded me of a prayer that was exactly what I needed to hear at the moment... part of the Litany of Humility. The whole prayer is worth a read and I will probably include it in our prayer links, but it's helpful when feeling so self-conscious to repeat to yourself one particular line that cuts to the heart of the issue: "From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me Jesus." This was a critical point I needed to hear; who doesn't want to be esteemed?! And yet it goes contradicting to the attitude that is important to take in motherhood. I am here, doing the blessed and holy work God has given me, unglamorous though it may be, and the world can not be expected to give me the praises my human instincts desire. It's all fleeting; I must try hard, daily...HOURLY to remember that it is not their approval I'm after, but only that of my Soveriegn King...