“I don’t wanna bring children into this crazy world!” I’ve thought it. Have you? Terror attacks. Human trafficking. Natural disasters. Cancer. War. The destruction of our planet. And oh so much more. It can be psychologically and emotionally paralyzing. Honestly, if I didn’t have Christian faith that there is a heaven, a Resurrection and a Final Judgment where justice will be served, I don’t know how I’d keep my sanity from day to day.
Some days I wake up next to my beautiful baby filled with overwhelm about the evil, suffering and death in our world. (Aaand… this folks, is why I try not to watch the “news”.) I greet his joyful, innocent face with a big smile and playful wrestling because I want to preserve his sense of joy, innocence and security. But inside I anguish, “How will I protect him? How can I prepare him for the pain of this life? What if something happens to me … or him?”
Yes, there are occasions when a couple may want to avoid having a baby (such as a health concern, a bad living situation, serious financial hardship, etc.), but should a couple forego bringing a new person into this world just because they want to spare him from the inevitable run-in with evil and suffering?
Here are 5 reasons why, despite my own fears, I say, “Life must go on!”
1. You can’t get to heaven if you don’t exist!
God has chosen to make us co-creators with Him. When a man and woman provide the material for little Johnny’s body through their sexual union, God infuses an immortal soul into that body. Now a new person exists who never existed before with an eternal soul which will either go to heaven or … uh … you know. Giving little Johnny existence is the only way he will ever have the opportunity to know God and spend eternity with Him FOREVER (and you, too, I hope!). And there there will be no more suffering, tears, pain or death – only utterly encompassing beauty, love and joy.
2. The family is THE place to fight evil at it’s foundations.
Each of us are born into a family of some kind, right? We are total noobs at life when we are born. In the home is where each of us first learn to respect the dignity of human life, how to navigate this world, to resolve conflicts, to manage our emotions, to think well, to love and be loved, to forgive, to pray, to serve, to make wise choices and care for our own well being and for our planet.
(At least we should learn these things in the family. If you didn’t, there is no time like the present to start learning how to be a thoughtful parent who instills wisdom in your children.)
Our tiny people grow up to be active members of society. As a parent, you have an awesome privilege and responsibility to form these members of society to combat evil and do good in their own unique way with their particular talents and passions.
3. Children make us better people and bring us joy.
Bad things will happen in all of our lives at some point. Is this a sufficient reason to forfeit the joy and blessings that a child would bring into your life? While there are sleepless nights and many frustrations for parents, a child also provides a chance to learn how to love selflessly. The privilege of forming and supporting a child is deeply rewarding. Parenting provides a deeper glimpse into the love God has for us as our Father. Children challenge us to become holier. (Perhaps your child will help you get to heaven.) The love of a child, and the beauty of watching a child grow, learn and delight in the world are priceless.
4. There is much good for your child to experience in this life.
Despite the evils, there are so many goods that this life has to offer. But how can a child experience the pleasures and beauties of this world if he is not in it? What are some of your favorite memories and most joyful or awe-inspiring experiences in this life? Playing with the kids in your neighborhood everyday after school? A vacation to the Grand Canyon? Watching the sun set over the ocean with the love of your life? Telling jokes and making music around a camp fire? Holding your little baby? Even the opportunities to do good for others that make you feel proud of yourself make life worth living.
“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philipians 4:8
Be grateful to God for all the good things of this life. Recognize, celebrate and surround yourself with good and beautiful things, people and experiences. Don’t let the darkness cloud your vision.
5. God can even turn suffering into good in your child’s life.
While God may, in His infinite wisdom, allow suffering and evil in your child’s life, He will only do so if He has a plan to work it out in the end for some greater good. There are so many Saints with stories of suffering and loss which, in the end, made them more faithful to God and more loving toward others. Sometimes it is to be thanked for saving their souls or the souls of others. As callous as it may sound, sometimes hardships are a gift.
Facing evils with faith and character gives us the chance to become heroes in this world. Don’t forget that the sufferings of this life are only temporary. We store up treasures for ourselves in the next life by endure them and overcoming them with God’s grace.
My mother has suffered in watching me endure a mysterious, year’s long illness (which I now know to be Lyme disease). But ultimately it lead me to a healthier lifestyle, living closer to her again after years away in another state, and even bringing a beautiful, new grandson into her life. A dear friend met her husband while on a mission trip to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina get back on their feet. His house and all of his possessions had been demolished during the disaster. Had not he endured such a loss and desperate situation, he would never have met his beloved bride, nor brought five, wonderful, little people into this world.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, “There is nothing to prevent human nature’s being raised up to something greater, even after sin; God permits evil in order to draw forth some greater good. Thus St. Paul says, ‘Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more’; and the Exsultet sings, ‘O happy fault,. . . which gained for us so great a Redeemer!'” – Catechism of the Catholic Church, 412
Now, instead of dwelling on fears about things which may or may not happen to our children, let us use our holy imaginations to envision what a beautiful and heroic life God may unfold for them… even through adversity. And let us pray without ceasing.