Friday, November 13, 2015

A Battle Waged

A battle rages around us and many do not even know that it is happening.

I am currently reading Pilgrim's Inn by Elizabeth Goudge (who is fast becoming a favorite).  The book takes place in England in the years following WWII, and frequently talks about the loss of hope and desperation that many people felt.  Eventually the family in the book decides to host a Christmas performance for the neighbors.  On Christmas Day evening, the cars begin to pull into the drive of the inn.

Light streamed from the Herb of Grace, from every window and from the open front door, and the very jubilation of that light had something to say of the utter happiness of the day that had been spent within.  To most of the occupants of the cars the world seemed a dark enough place, but at the sight of that light their heavy hearts lifted a little.  There were still children in the world, and while there were children, men and women would not abandon the struggle to make safe homes to put them in, and while they so struggled there was hope.

Contrast that with the stories my husband and I have heard over and over again during this pregnancy.  Men (it's always men, never women) have routinely come up to us and out of the blue said how much they wished they could have had another child.  One man told me this while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store after he had remarked on the four gallons of milk I was buying.  When I told him we had four children at home (and I am very obviously expecting again) he sort of sighed as his teenaged son put his groceries on the belt and said how much he wanted more children but... and here he sort of trailed off.  My husband has people approaching him at random at work and saying basically the same thing.

These men are grieving for a lost fatherhood.  And it is only through fatherhood that a male becomes a man.  With each child we have had, I have watched my husband grow more and more selfless.  I know he would give up himself for us.  I am safe and secure with him.  He protects us and provides for us.  I have every hope my sons will grow up just like him.

There are so many women who do not have that.  So many men in our world who are simply continuing an adolescent existence.  And then women marry these men, fully unwilling to rely on them.  They go in with the attitude of "I'll take care of myself, thank you very much." And so their husbands are never required to step up and be men (and they long to, they just can't).  It becomes a perpetual cycle.  The women suffer having to deal with immature, irresponsible men and the men never have the opportunity to grow up and become men.

And so we have stories like what I just read today:

Thousands to be sterilized in global vasectomy-athon

There is something a-foot here.  Something seedy and diabolical and it should not be ignored.

At times I feel like our family is the scourge of our neighborhood.  We keep a clean house and a clean yard and try hard to not be a scourge.  But we are home all day long.  My children play outside in the backyard during the day and in the front yard in the afternoon.  The elderly and few who happen to also be home all day have to listen to us.  We try to be respectful, but children make noise and some of it is not pleasant.

But after reading and thinking, I have come to realize that our family is a blessing on our neighborhood.  And I don't say that in a prideful manner at all.  What dark places are neighborhoods and streets without children growing up on them.  Our family fills the silence with life.  It's a noisy thing, life is.  Noisy and messy and beautiful.  I've often thought that hell must be filled with a vast loneliness, emptiness, silence.

It's a bit existential.  Just by our very existence, we have meaning.  Just by living this life we are called to live, living out our faith as best as we are able, we bring light to the world.  Not our own light, but the light of Christ.

..and while they so struggled there was hope.


Jennie C. said...

Oh, this is a wonderful post, Cmerie. I read another article the other day about how men are choosing not to get married, because, "Women aren't women anymore."

I tell the girls, "I know you CAN take care of yourself, but that doesn't necessarily mean you SHOULD. Men want and need to take care of women. Let them change your flat tires and check your oil. It makes them happy." :-)

Jennie C. said...

PS: I'm sharing on FB. :-)

Cmerie said...

Thank you Jennie!

Kate said...

Beautiful, Cmerie!!!

(I too, am currently reading an Elizabeth Goudge -Green Dolphin Street:)


Becky G. said...

Wonderful post... and so very on point. We can't appreciate the full abandonment of masculine virtue without simultaneously addressing the rejection of the feminine design and call spawned by radical feminism and the sexual revolution. Both sexes have been floundering for the past 60 years and counting as gender ideology and the denial of the maternal and paternal connection to gender identity has been all but scrubbed out. Thanks to contraception, sterilization, abortion, and an overall anti-child mentality, men and women aren't even aware that they are inherently stamped with God's parental image as a symbol of our human mission: to love, to sacrifice, and bring life to the world. We are all called to spiritual, and in most cases, biological maternity and paternity. As I always say, at the very heart of our femininity and masculinity is a call to motherhood and a call to fatherhood. Well done in helping to remind others of this reality.