All of us have been children. We all had a mother and father. However, not all of us will be able to become a mother or father. This weekend, as the greeting card stands display an array of Mother’s Day cards, and special menus have enticed customers to bring mothers to enjoy tasty teas or dinners, so the pain of not having children is reinforced by those who use an opportunity to make some extra money. There is no magic wand that will produce a baby for a childless couple or a partner for the person who feels left on the shelf. It is an age-old problem and at times so difficult for those of us with family and friends facing these situations to understand why this has happened to so many people.
Is it wrong when the tears flow and the frustrations pour out? Of course there is always a better way of handling ourselves. Some of us are quite transparent with what we feel at any given time. Some readily share what they feel, pick themselves off the floor so to speak and get on with life again. Others choose to always present themselves as self-sufficient and not being immersed in their emotions. Whatever the case, if the question ‘what is wrong with me’ is lived out in such a manner that everyone in close proximity is made to pay for something that has nothing to do with them then there is always the potential to spoil another’s person’s enjoyment of what they have. There is always a better way of handling ourselves when the negatives want to run the show. The process of accepting and stepping into that better way is possible.
The desires for motherhood and fatherhood are perfectly natural in each of us. So what does that mean for those who don’t bring a child into this world - are they failures? My aunt had four stillbirths and one baby who lived for a day but she and her husband, despite their loss and heartache, had an open home, big hearts, showed much kindness and supported all their nieces and nephews throughout their lifetime. They, fondly known as B and Pop, poured the love they would have had for their children into all of us and this love will always be remembered. Was my aunt a failure because she couldn’t bring children into this world? Not at all.
I will attend the Mother’s Day service in my church on Sunday. All the ladies, from the youngest to the oldest will be given a beautiful hand produced card with an encouraging verse of God’s faithfulness to keep for the next year. Some of us have quite a wonderful collection of these inspirational little cards.
One of the visions of our church is to live out family values. We are encouraged to show our care and, where appropriate, share our meal times, family outings and visit those who are single or who have been through the trauma of bereavement, divorce or separation, and troubled. The Bank Holiday weekends and family gatherings at Christmas can be particularly difficult for those who live alone. The church arranges times of fellowship and fun to help relieve some of the pressure and the emotional withdrawal that loneliness can cause. My greatest joy is to see the rapt attention an older or single person gives to a child who is sharing, with much detail, something they have done or seen. Making conversation can be daunting for anyone and as the children and young people respond to encouragement to mingle with everyone no matter their age, they grow in confidence and awareness too. There will always be those who love this two-way communication and those who enjoy it but are much more reticent in their communication or desire to mix. The important thing the church can do is to show them that they belong and are worth getting to know.
‘God places the lonely in families’ Psalm 68:6 (NLT)