I just put Abby to bed. She was sleepy enough to go gracefully, which doesn't always happen, and so adorable as she rubbed her eyes and blinked at me. Just before I'd read her Pajama Time and Mama, Do You Love Me? and before that I'd changed her into clean diaper and PJs and fed her potatoes and carrots and zucchini for dinner, which she loved.
And all I can think about right now is all the babies in the world right this moment who have none of that. The vegetables, the clean diapers, the books, the love, the intention. And I'm stuck between being aware of my mama-hormones which make me more susceptible to flights of emotion and of the world's deep need.
Recently NPR reported on the Cameron Todd Willingham case in Texas. A number of years ago, Mr. Willingham's house burned down, killing his three small children. He was tried, convicted, and executed for arson and murder. Years later, it's coming to light that the forensic evidence used to convict him was based on folklore, evidence which even at the time was considered laughable. What killed me was a reporter noting that witnesses on the night of the fire said they saw Mr. Willingham on his porch, covered in soot, screaming, "My babies are burning up!" I can't even imagine. No, that's wrong. I can imagine, and that's the problem.
Children have no way of raising themselves, of protecting themselves, of making their own decisions. It could be said that they make decisions all the time. Sure, we're in agreement about that when it comes to which block to pick up or whether something should be chewed or later whether someone is a friend or an enemy. But children are basically helpless, little people in a world of big, violent, forgetful, selfish people.
It could also be said that, particularly in America, we coddle our kids too much. That we protect them from things far beyond reasonable measures. And that every argument falling from a politician's mouth includes something about protecting the children. All true as far as they go.
BUT the painful truth is that there are millions of children in the world whose parents don't or can't take care of them. Who eat junk food or even garbage. Who hear only "don't" and never "good job." Who never hear Pajama Time or Mama, Do You Love Me?. Whose understanding of life is insecurity and hunger and fear. And that's a sin.
I'm feeling increasingly called to consider these issues. If you have thoughts on the subject or agencies already in existence you'd like to share, please do so on this blog's original site: http://justusetpeccator.blogspot.com.