Thursday, February 02, 2017

Interpreting 1 Samuel 1 & 2 - Can a fertile understand it?

Deep sigh.  This Christmas I received a devotional book written by a highly respected Christian author.  Coincidentally the devotional book starts in 1 Samuel, which is where I am picking up my slow and steady read through of the Bible this calendar year.  Interestingly, someone I didn't expect mentioned reading a devotional written by this same author just yesterday.  So I finally made myself read from the devotional, even though I don't agree with the author's interpretation of the story of Hannah.

There is a part of me that wants to proclaim that no one who has never experienced the crisis of childlessness should be allowed to interpret this text or any other related to the life of a barren biblical matriarch.  But this wouldn't be fair, because logically it would mean that none of us would be allowed to interpret any section of Scripture for which we aren't personally familiar.

Yet, it is painful to read the author criticize Elkanah's response, without reading it in the context of a relationship of infertility.  It is difficult to hear the author judge that Hannah couldn't have understood what great sacrifice she would make in dedicating her son before she even held her son in her arms.  Oh, author, you don't realize she already grieves the loss of empty arms.  Better have a child dedicated to God than have no child at all.  Or at least this is how I would interpret it.

And so I wonder how many other interpretive readings of Scripture I absorb without recognizing the interpreter has missed the mark.  And I struggle with how I can continue to read what has been written in this devotional when I already disagree.  Blah! 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

2017 Women's March in Washington D.C. - the response of a barren woman.

We live in a culture in which adoptive parents are criticized for "taking" someone else's baby, and yet we march to encourage "freedom" of abortion.  My heart is struggling with the Women's March that just took place in Washington D.C.  On one hand, I'm proud of so many women gathering together to express unity and a desire for good for women across the globe.  I think of how privileged I am as a woman living in the United States.  Even though I may be criticized and come against opposition, I can choose whatever life I want for myself.  Yet in so many places across the world this is not the case.  So, I would march for my sisters who cannot march.

On the other hand, my heart is grieved.  This isn't a statement of lightly banded together words to figuratively express an emotional appeal.  No, my heart grieves.  I am a barren woman.  I desire a child.  And yet the march that took place Saturday, January 21st, 2017 in Washington D.C. represents millions of lives lost and millions more still to be sacrificed to "protect" a more comfortable way of being.  I am not talking about the abortions that could be considered medically necessary and don't want to get into that debate.  But I am talking about the children whose lives were taken even though 1 in 6 couples in the United States are longing for a child to raise.  And to respond rashly with the comment about the number of children in our foster care system as an argument for abortion and against the barren who should "just adopt one of our kids already in the system" denies recognition of what it really means to adopt one of these children.  Not everyone feels equipped to take in a child instead of an infant, let alone a child whose trust has already been broken.  Yet, I encourage everyone, the barren and fertile alike, to consider creating a home and a family for one or more of these wonderful kids. Still to say, "just adopt" to a barren feminist who considers the ethical considerations of international adoption and the risk of contributing to the human trafficking of babies, isn't an easy instruction.  To say, "just adopt" to a person who recognizes the baby she may have been called to adopt has already been cut from another woman's womb, a woman she would have cared, loved, and walked besides, is just not fair.

So, when I watch the news about the Women's March, I am both proud and grieved.  As a woman, I want to march, but as a barren feminist, I could not.

Interesting article: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/sep/27/ivf-where-all-grief-going

Monday, December 05, 2016

The lost baby.

This morning, after two weeks of emotional silence, I decided to quietly share with God that I am angry.  It was a quiet conversation, not the type where you yell at God, because my anger isn't directed anywhere.  In our exchange I was reminded of how in the past I thought it was unfair to David and Bathsheba's child that he had to die because of their sin.  This morning though that story came to mind and the idea that the child didn't grieve because the child went straight to heaven.  An infant that is lost doesn't grieve.  It doesn't seem unfair to him or her because the infant knows of nothing different.  Mother's womb to glorious heavenly embrace of the Eternal Parent.  There is no loss to the child, only gain.