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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Where do I find my strength?

Päivämies-verkkolehti
Vieraskieliset / In-english
22.3.2016 13.05

Juttua muokattu:

1.1. 23:29
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Pe­op­le of­ten ask me where I find the strength and ener­gy for my dai­ly life. They ap­p­ro­ach this qu­es­ti­on from dif­fe­rent view­points: Where do I find the ener­gy for my job when I have so many child­ren? Where do I find the pa­tien­ce to be at home with my fa­mi­ly when I have so many child­ren? Where do I find so many cau­ses of joy in my life when I have so many child­ren?

I have of­ten ho­ped that so­me­o­ne would ask me: Where do you find the strength to deal with all those unin­ten­ded – and so­me­ti­mes even in­ten­ti­o­nal – ne­ga­ti­ve com­ments on the size of yo­ur fa­mi­ly? If on­ly pe­op­le would ask me about that ins­te­ad of for­ming their opi­ni­ons ba­sed on me­dia pub­li­ci­ty or ran­dom pre­ju­di­ced com­ments. But alt­hough so few pe­op­le have ever as­ked me this qu­es­ti­on, I thought I would write a res­pon­se any­way. Just in case so­me­o­ne might read it.

When our first won­der­ful baby was born about twen­ty ye­ars ago, I knew our fa­mi­ly would li­ke­ly grow. It was my comp­le­te­ly vo­lun­ta­ry choi­ce to be­lie­ve and trust that God, who is the Cre­a­tor of all things, would gui­de and pro­tect our life. I did not even want to know how big our fa­mi­ly would even­tu­al­ly be. With child­li­ke con­fi­den­ce I thought that, if we are gi­ven many child­ren, we will al­so be gi­ven enough love to take care of them.

I have met pe­op­le who seem to think that La­es­ta­di­an wo­men can­not use their brain to think what is good for them. That be­cau­se I have so many child­ren, I am unab­le to think in­de­pen­dent­ly. That I have been brain­was­hed. That my hus­band has su­bor­di­na­ted me so that I no lon­ger know what is good for me and on­ly ima­gi­ne my­self to be hap­py. At the very le­ast, I am con­si­de­red a foo­lish and chil­dish per­son.

But this is not so. I have a fair­ly good le­vel of in­tel­li­gen­ce, I have an aca­de­mic deg­ree, and I am ful­ly qu­a­li­fied for my job. I al­so be­lie­ve that my hus­band ge­nui­ne­ly lo­ves me. I know that, for him, love is not on­ly words but al­so small ges­tu­res and ac­ti­ons, such as coo­king bre­ak­fast and ma­king cof­fee in the mor­ning, sor­ting and was­hing the laund­ry, lo­ving­ly touc­hing me in pas­sing du­ring the day. Our life has no room for su­bor­di­na­ti­on – neit­her psyc­ho­lo­gi­cal or phy­si­cal, nor spi­ri­tu­al. Any such claims seem in­sul­ting.

My brot­her told me about so­met­hing that hap­pe­ned when he went to work one mor­ning. He met two of his col­le­a­gu­es in the cor­ri­dor. He gree­ted them with his cus­to­ma­ry cheer­ful “Good mor­ning”. One of the col­le­a­gu­es said: ”I just can’t un­ders­tand how you can al­wa­ys be so cheer­ful, alt­hough you have six child­ren.” My brot­her as­ked this col­le­a­gue: ”How many child­ren do you have?” She said she had two. He then as­ked a se­cond qu­es­ti­on: ”Do you love these two child­ren?” Af­ter a po­si­ti­ve ans­wer, he as­ked yet one more qu­es­ti­on: “If you had more child­ren, can you tell me which child would be the one for whom you would no lon­ger have any love left?” There was no ans­wer to that.

When I think about my brot­her’s qu­es­ti­on now that I have nine child­ren my­self, I am hap­py to know that I have not run out of love. The more you are lo­ved, the more love you can share. Eve­ry time when I hold a new­born baby, I am as­to­nis­hed at the huge amount of love con­tai­ned in that small bund­le. Eve­ry­bo­dy at home is wai­ting for the new baby. There is hard­ly anyt­hing more touc­hing than see­ing a grum­py, short-tem­pe­red tee­na­ger come home from school and go straight to the slee­ping baby, snif­fing at it, pat­ting at it gent­ly, and on­ly then – if even then – re­cog­ni­ze the pre­sen­ce of ot­her fa­mi­ly mem­bers. And what about Dad co­ming home from work? He kneels down by the cot and char­ges his bat­te­ries with a few mi­nu­tes of baby smell the­ra­py.

It is true that I am so­me­ti­mes ti­red. There are mor­nings when I am trying to get to work in time, but the two-ye­ar-old howls at the top of his lungs, the four-ye­ar-old throws a tant­rum, the eight-ye­ar-old be­gins to cry for no ob­vi­ous re­a­son, the ten-ye­ar-old can­not find his jac­ket, and the tee­na­ger has an ac­ting-out day. But I gu­ess we all are so­me­ti­mes ti­red of our life, re­gard­less of how many child­ren we have, or even if we have none. I think what re­al­ly mat­ters is our ge­ne­ral at­ti­tu­de to life. I be­lie­ve and trust that the po­wer­ful hand of God is gui­ding our see­ming­ly hap­ha­zard life in­to the di­rec­ti­on that He in his wis­dom has dec­reed for us. It is com­for­ting to feel this gui­dan­ce.

It is al­so com­for­ting to know that, es­pe­ci­al­ly when I am ti­red, there are pe­op­le around me who have had the same ex­pe­rien­ce. I get peer sup­port. When I come home with a new­born baby, I get the best kind of peer sup­port: a group of wo­men gat­her in our home. They are cheer­ful, sad, ti­red, well-res­ted, suc­ces­s­ful, un­suc­ces­s­ful, tal­ka­ti­ve, or qui­et wo­men with their arms full of gifts. They bring pre­sents and ba­ked goo­dies to us, but most im­por­tant­ly, they bring love. They do not ask how many child­ren we now have, or if I feel ti­red. Or they do ask, but they do it with love.

Now some of you may think that we are one of rare fa­mi­lies whose life has been ex­cep­ti­o­nal­ly ea­sy. But no, we are not. Du­ring the past five ye­ars I have had such he­a­vy tem­po­ral tri­als that they have left me de­vas­ta­ted and al­most unab­le to be­lie­ve in a good and mer­ci­ful God. There have been de­aths and se­ri­ous ac­ci­dents. I can pro­bab­ly say that there have been more than enough bur­dens for one per­son to car­ry.

At the mo­ments of gre­a­test dist­ress, hu­man life is strip­ped down to the bare es­sen­ti­als. What is left af­ter that is love: love of the Cre­a­tor who main­tains all things and al­so love of our fa­mi­ly and friends. One day when life see­med ut­ter­ly ho­pe­less, my daugh­ter con­so­led me and said I should con­cent­ra­te on de­a­ling with my own life and le­a­ve the things I could do not­hing about. That made me re­a­li­ze that I have been gre­at­ly bles­sed with won­der­ful child­ren. That the lit­t­le ones who may be such a lot of work when they are yo­ung will la­ter grow up in­to wise adults, who in their turn will sup­port me.

Es­pe­ci­al­ly when I am ti­red, I think about my hus­band and my sib­lings and their spou­ses and find them such a huge tre­a­su­re. And when I am ti­red and wor­ried about the fu­tu­re of our child­ren, I find pe­a­ce in the thought that our child­ren will al­wa­ys have God and each ot­her.

This is where I find my strength.

Sirk­ka Leh­to

Trans­la­ti­on: S-L.L.

The blog post was pub­lis­hed in on­li­ne Päi­vä­mies on 21 Oct. 2015.

10.7.2020

Minä lau­lan kii­tos­ta Her­ral­le, hän pi­tää mi­nus­ta huo­len. Ps. 13:6

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