Today is the last Friday of August and when Friday comes around again most of us will be back in a term time routine, thinking of autumn and counting down to Christmas.
Today’s ‘something lovely’ is a celebration of children – because we love them so much!
Lucy and I have filled much of the summer with other people’s little ones, because we love babies and children. As my own children grow up and leave home I’ve been counting the number of things I do to keep myself alive to little children. I like to embarrass my boys my chatting with babies in cafes and restaurants. I always have a baby cardigan on my knitting needles. I enjoy befriending women with small children. I truly love the toddler group community which I help to organise every Tuesday, a place for little ones to play and mums to chat and get some everyday human support.
Lucy and I have been following the story of writer and Jesus Culture worship leader Christa Gifford Black, who sadly lost a baby, near term, last year. She has charted her journey of grief and healing on her blog, and it makes sobering but good reading. I’m so grateful for women who are using the internet in this way, making themselves vulnerable by telling their personal stories, and letting those stories encourage other by pointing to Christ and his kindness in the direst of situations. Christa now has a baby daughter, Birdie, and I’ve truly rejoiced and thanked God with that child, Birdie, over and over as Christa shared news of her progress from special care to going home.
We have also been following the story of Micha Boyett’s new baby boy, Ace, and were thrilled this week when Micha shared a few snaps of her little boy online. It was on a day when we had been swimming. A group of young people with additional needs had joined us in the pool part way through our session. They were extremely noisy, splashing, shouting and pushing each other in the water and though in interrupted the calm of our swim we were happy to see them enjoying themselves and full of thankful admiration to the excellent cares who were with them.
Micah’s baby boy has Down Syndrome and after we had marvelled over the photos we talked about the impossibly difficult decision some parents have to make when they find they are pregnant with a child that may have an extra chromosome. Lucy asked me if I would have an abortion in that circumstance and I said I would not. She agreed and said that she would not either. And I’m glad to say that is her own decision. She has deep compassion and respect for women who might choose otherwise but knows for now what her own personal response would be.
You can’t force a thing like that on another person; not even on your own daughter. All you can do is endeavour to show that human life is a thing great value: unborn children, elderly people, the homeless, women, people of colour and homosexuals, all precious. People of every race and religion, every political persuasion, the rich and the poor, friends and enemies , fellow humanity, in all its diversity, created by God, worthy of our deepest respect and love.
Andy and I sat a little teary the other day about one or two family matters. They were the kind of tears you cry after the event when you realise it was hard but you made it. Parenting is difficult and we shouldn’t be surprised when it brings us to tears. All we really have to do is make it through today knowing that Christ is more than enough and help some one else along the way.
“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”