I sit next to the tub, bathing my toddler. I gently lather soap over his baby belly and his chubby arms and legs.
My mind wanders to all the children in the world who know touch not as loving, kind and helpful, but as evil, greedy and rough.
I thank God that my child has never known the abuse that some children experience every week.
And I find myself praying – praying that these boys, these men of God we’re raising, will fight the injustices in our world with everything in them. That they will contribute to the fight in some meaningful way.
That they will change the world.
But what if they don’t? Change the world, I mean.
At least not in the magnificent, prominent, grand ways that phrase brings to mind.
What if they are just good men, the kind who hold open doors and offer to carry groceries for the elderly or the pregnant or the infirm?
What if they are just cari
ng brothers, the ones who take the time to call a sibling who is going through a time of loneliness?
What if they are just good citizens, the ones who wait with the child who is lost and pick up the trash on the street that’s not theirs and return the $1 that the cashier mistakenly gave them in change?
What if they are just faithful fathers, the kind who wrestle with their kids and take them to the park and never leave, no matter how hard things get?
What does that mean for me, their mother?
Does it mean that my labor was not worthwhile? That staying home with them was for nothing?
Not at all.
You see, our country has forgotten that a country is only as good as the moral character of its citizens. It has forgotten that its strength comes from the one, just one ordinary person who knows what is good and right and true.
Just one ordinary person who is whole.
Instead, we glorify those whose contributions are big, measurable, noteworthy.
We overlook what often makes these good citizens we’re wanting: a loving mother in the home, shaping the minds and hearts of these little ones by being with them. Because if they don’t, someone else will fill that void, for better or for worse…and it’s usually for worse.
You see, there is a gift that cannot be bought or sold, though we sure as heck try to in the good old U.S.A. This is the priceless gift we pour out day after day, week after week, year after year.
You know what I’m talking about: it’s time.
The time we pour out in buckets and buckets and buckets.
Time reading aloud, time making dinner together, time just being with them. The effects are often immeasurable, the results not quantifiable.
And that bothers us.
Because isn’t that what we want today in America? What we DEMAND? Quantifiable results. We desperately want to know that what we do matters, that it counts for something, that what we spend our days on has purpose.
Does the hand that shapes the simple spoon have less purpose than the one that creates china? Doesn’t it have even more purpose?
We use spoons every day. We need them to be quality, durable, lasting.
Our world is full of brokenness. Everywhere you turn, you hear stories of broken homes, broken hearts, and broken lives.
What if the best gift I can give the world as a mom is whole people?
I have to believe that these ones and twos in front of me will make the biggest difference just by being a little bit more whole than I am.
Because goodness knows, the world needs more good men, more faithful fathers, more men of honor.
The elderly woman whose groceries they carry? Her world is changed.
The sister who gets a call during a season of deep loneliness? Her world is changed.
The cashier whose drawer would have come up short from the last time? His world is changed.
And the child who knows the security and comfort of a father who comes home each and every day? His world is forever changed.
So when you despair of the ordinary litany of your days and wonder whether you are moving grains of sand from one pile to the next as you spend day after sometimes monotonous day with these little ones, remember this: there is such beauty in the ordinary. Yes, even in the monotony.
Because when you finally send that little one off into the world, all grown up, you’re giving the world such a gift.
There is one more whole person in the midst of a sea of darkness and chaos and pain. And you never know, that whole person may just change the world.
The world of one person…one at a time. People who need the strength, the goodness, and the light they carry with them. Even if it’s just one person, it’s enough.
And it’s mostly because of you.