My family and I go to a diner most Sundays after church. It’s our big event of the week and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Recently, two women sitting at an adjacent table engaged in a lengthy conversation about how crazy my wife and I must be to have four children. They didn’t care if we heard. “Oh my God, I would go crazy,” she said. “Why would you have so many? It’s just…indecent.”
She had searched for that word. And sadly I think she meant it. She wasn’t trying to be shocking or speak hyperbolically for a laugh. The other woman agreed and shook her head.
I saw my seven year old girl listening to them. She understood the words but I saw in her face that she didn’t really comprehend the cruelty beneath it. I was glad for that. But sad that one day she would understand. My wife just smiled at me.
There is a divide in America. It’s talked about incessantly on television and in the press. They say it’s Republicans vs. Democrats, pro-life vs. pro-choice, and haves vs. havenots. But I think it’s something deeper. The divide in this country is between those of faith and those without faith.
It is evidenced in all those other things including how we vote, how we live, how many children we have, where they go to school but the underlying basis is faith. Do you have faith in God or not?
I believe in God. I am a punch line for the secular elite.
It’s amazing the reaction my children and I cause when we go out. Last Saturday, my wife and I took the kids to the mall. As we were walking with our seven year old, our five year old, our four year old, and our two year old an elderly woman said loudly to her husband, “Oh no. I think she’s pregnant with another one.” My wife and I looked at each other and smiled because she is.
The divide can even pop out among people we believe are our friends. When I was a reporter my wife first became pregnant. Most people said congratulations. One reporter who I’d always liked and believed to be a kindred spirit came to me truly shocked. “How could you bring a child into this world?” he asked.
I laughed because I thought he was joking. He wasn’t. So I told him I’d like to be able to field at least a basketball squad. It was his turn to laugh believing I was joking. I wasn’t.
I’ve long since given up the newspaper business and am now a stay-at-home Dad. I work from home on my computer where I spend most of my day fending my two year away from the power switch on my computer.
We make choices in life. Did I ever think this was the road my life would take? Not a chance. Would I trade it? Never.
On Thursday I took my two year old in to the doctor’s office. I counted heads as we walked into the elevator and dealt with pleas from my children to be able to push the button when a hand suddenly pushed in through the doors to prevent their closing. A little red haired older woman stood there leaning on a walker smiling. “I just had to tell you, you have the most beautiful family,” she whispered conspiratorially, “I think what you’re doing is wonderful. You just don’t see big families anymore.”
She whispered that she had 14 grandchildren and two on the way. She whispered “God bless,” waved and let the doors close.
There is a divide in this country. My side seems to smile a lot more. But we also whisper nice things while mean things are said loudly. Perhaps we should keep smiling but raise our voices a little more.