I saw it again this evening as I downed a couple of hot dogs before digging into "Church work": Another "back-to-school" commercial using not-so-tongue-in-cheek humor to describe the attitude of parents toward their children. You know what I'm talking about; those snarky, crude, "those-kids-are-the-bane-of-my-summertime-existence-get-them-back-to-school-and-out-of-my-hair-NOW!" commercials.
My heart breaks when I see those commercials. It breaks because I know that this crude humor doesn't just appear out of the ether; it comes from somewhere, from someone's heart, from someone's feelings that spilled over into words and sarcasm in front of children who discovered their lack of value in the sneering humor of their parents.
For whatever reason, the Lord has chosen not to give Emily and I children (though he has given us each other and overflowing family of other kinds, to whom we happily devote our time and energy). Still, my heart breaks when I hear or see this casual, snarky attitude towards one's own children (maybe this is what explains the abortion doctor holding up an aborted, unborn baby's organs with tweezers, assessing how to better harvest them the next time?).
I will never know the joy of all-too-quickly-maturing voices in my home. I will never know the marvel of feeding bottomless pits. I will never know the joy of seeing my children go from one stage of life to another; from one accomplishment to another. I will never know the longing to see them walk through the door as they come home from college for the weekend. I will never know what it's like to see them get married, have children (hopefully in that order), and spoil grandchildren.
For all these reasons, and many more, I plead with parents to treasure the joy the Lord has given them. Believe me, they'll never know how blessed they are. Sacred Scripture tells us this: "Children are a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is a gift. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! He shall not be put to shame when he contends with his enemies in the gate." (Psalm 127:4-6).