"I thought about the whole notion of "reproduction," and what it really means to replicate yourself. Is it merely about the passing on of eyes and chins and hair color? Or is it, rather, the replication of the heart? Do we leave a bigger mark by passing on our genes, or our thoughts?"~ Shannon Woodward, author of Inconceivable: Finding Peace in the Midst of Infertility ~
Christmas Eve 1986. The BMW pulled up at the front door of the exclusive Washington Montessori school. A perfectly-coiffed Mom in a designer suit unfolded from behind the wheel to free her three-year-old daughter from the car seat. She cooed promises of special time together tomorrow. The little girl did not meet her eyes.
"I'll be back for Ashley around 7:30 tonight. I have to do some shopping," she informed the directress who met them at the classroom door. "Mommy will be back soon!" She crouched, reaching for a hug.
But something snapped shut in Ashley's face, and she bent to rummage in her backpack. Brandishing a silver glove, she whirled into the classroom. "Look what I've got!" she squealed, "Michael Jackson's glove! And I've got his album too!"
Like mother, like daughter.
I was that directress, and after 6 childless years of marriage and one miscarriage, I wondered if I would ever hold children of my own. But if God granted me children, I resolved to give them something better than shiny stuff in a drop-off childhood.
In one week, I will leave my eldest at college across town, and I'm assessing what she will have to brandish to her companions, and whether she'll meet my eyes as we part.
I had thought to commission her with the passage of Scripture that has been the heritage of my family for three generations:
" Is not this the fast that I (God) have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppessed go free and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?...And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations: and thou shalt be called, the repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in..." (Isa. 58:6, 7, 10-12)But then I realized that she has not waited. None of my children have. In their Teen Court service, they have loosed bands of wickedness and let the oppressed go free. They have drawn out their souls to the hungry and afflicted, raising up the foundations of the next generations by saving babies from the abortionists' knife, raising money to help women in crisis pregnancies. They have broken yokes of gossip and mockery among their peers, and enlarged our house to include young people from across the nation. They have dealt the bread of wise teaching to those younger than they who are hungry to learn music, literature, communication, Scripture...
In large measure, they already are who they will be. Our eyes meet. Every day. And so do our hearts and our purposes. We have the same heritage. We have something shiny to brandish to the world. But it isn't stuff. It's Light itself.