Babies

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There’s an 11-year-old girl who, whenever she sees me, asks when I’m going to have a baby.

After trying my best to conceal my panic and shock, I gently remind her that I’m in my mid 20s and don’t plan on thinking about having kids any time soon.

The girl refuses to accept my feeble answer.

She might be young, but she’s no stranger to the wonder babies hold. She loves holding them, talking to them, making silly faces until they smile. She insists on soothing them when they cry and bottle feeding them while humming songs. Meanwhile, I watch babies from 10 feet away, waiting patiently until they turn five before I actively engage with them.

To be honest, I want to tell that little girl that I’m not sure if I want to bring babies to the world.

How can I bring children into a world where there are Kavanaughs and Trumps who leverage power to feed their greed? How can I bring children into a world where women aren’t believed when they speak truth? How can I bring children into a world that is literally dying and climate change is merely another inconvenience for those in power?

There is too much suffering in the world. Most days I don’t know how we are expected to bear it all. How can I expect the next generation to inherit the suffering of our ancestors and the sin of our own hands?

Every Sunday, the little girl rehearses for a Christmas play for church. She, along with a dozen or so kids, embody the infamous characters—Elizabeth, Zechariah, Gabriel, the innkeeper, the Little Drummer Boy, four-legged furry friends and plastic baby Jesus.

I wonder if those characters asked the same questions I do today.

How long must this suffering go on? How do we bring up our children, the next generation, in such landscapes?

Among those characters is an unassuming rebel who didn’t cower away from the weight of a suffering world. It wasn’t until Kelley pointed it out that I realized that Mary was a revolutionary, a prophet who spoke of Upside Down Kingdoms and unleashed the furious power of hope.

I’ve been re-reading Mary’s song from the Gospel of Luke—the Magnificat.

“His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

These days, I find it difficult to sing along with her. I can’t raise my voice and proclaim greedy and unjust rulers to be brought down. I’ve seen the studies and the statistics. I’ve seen history repeat itself again and again. The story is always the same.

The suffering of the world is too heavy and hope is nowhere in sight.

But I still keep reading the Magnificat, wondering if she sang her rebellious lullaby over a sleepy Christ. I wonder if those songs soothed him, inspired him to know the Upside Down Kingdom he was going to unearth. I wonder if her song energized him when he felt weary. I wonder if it helped him bear the suffering of the entire world, and still preach peace and hope.

Recently, I heard Mark Charles speak on the Native perspective on immigration reform. He said, “This land we live in is not ours—it belongs to our children, the future generation.”

It’s true. This isn’t our land. It belongs to our children. We merely borrow it from them.

I worry still that the inheritance we leave for future generations will be unsustainable environmental practices and societies built on the bedrock of capitalistic and colonial patriarchy. I worry my actions will cause them more suffering and more injustice.

I can’t erase suffering. But I can practice small acts of hope, like singing with Mary, even if I can’t fully believe her words … yet.

I see women unleash the furious power of hope every day. Leslie is teaching her daughter how to self-love—the most powerful act of resistance. Kelley is asking tough questions in the streets of Israel and Palestine, and reminding me that peace is not dead yet. My friend, Velynn, is gathering her community together to explore the intersection of faith, equity and justice; she refuses to bow down to the social order that empowers white supremacy.

They, along with countless other SheLovelys and Dangerous Women, show up every single day. They sing Mary’s song. They resist. They prophesy. They unleash the furious power of hope for themselves, for their families, for their communities, for the world. They do it for the next generation, to whom this world belongs.

They give me strength to keep singing with Mary, even if I don’t fully believe yet.

I keep singing the Magnificat for the 11-year-old girl who demands to know when I’ll have a baby. I sing for the girl because this world is hers. She might one day awake with fear, worry, anxiety and hopelessness. If she does, I hope Mary’s song will soothe her aching heart. I pray it inspires and energizes her. I hope the song will be a seed in her heart that will one day grow and unleash the furious power of hope.

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Leah Abraham

Leah Abraham

Leah is a storyteller + writer + journalist + creative + empathizing romantic + pessimistic realist + ISFP + Enneagram type 2 + much more. She lives in the Seattle area where she works as an education reporter and features writer. Bonus facts: She loves the great indoors, hates to floss, and is obsessed with Korean food and her dorky, immigrant family.
Leah Abraham
Leah Abraham

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