The pastor sitting beside me as I waited to get my hair cut was a talker. I mean big time. You should know, by the way, that I don’t “jump” to tell people I have 8 children anymore. Not because I’m ashamed of it…maybe it’s more of my weariness of the cliches and attempts at making me feel ashamed for my convictions.
So he’s really chattering, to me, and to my 7-year-old about the baby who’s sleeping in her seat. And it finally comes up–the number of siblings. His response? (Grabs arms of his seat on either side and leans forward…) “ARE YOU CRAZY?” Did I mention he was a pastor?
Rolled off. Smiles, answer with my own cliche...”No, I’m blessed.” Another day.
Then yesterday, at the Thrift store, a lady I recognize. Oh, she’s a lady that frequented our home often when my mother used to cater a monthly meal for The Gideons. You know those people who do the wonderful work of spreading the Word of God? She had already bumped into my mom. So she says, when she sees me…
“I hear you’ve got number 8 in that cart?” Now, most people who see someone they know whom they haven’t seen in a while say things like, “Let me see that new baby?” Or even more simply, “How have you been?” Not this time.
“Yes ma’am”, I say.
She replies, “Don’t you know what causes that?”
OK, here’s the thing. That question is as tired as jelly shoes and twist-a-beads. (You’ll only know what that is if you grew up in the 80’s.) If you feel the need to make a joke, could you come up with an original one? And one that isn’t so, well, embarrassing to yourself? And, if you’re a Christian, at least try to hide the fact that you don’t believe children are really a heritage from the Lord.
And really, consider how insulting this “joke” is. Do you really think this is a subject to which my husband and I have not given a serious amount of thought, prayer and research? All that intensity of thought is dismissed by your stupid question.
(Honestly, I think I’d rather have someone just be truthful and ask me why I don’t use birth control. Because the question she asked clearly reveals that she is not even open to another take on the issue and probably hasn’t given it much thought at all beyond the assumption that if everyone else is doing it so should we.)
I really must start answering more creatively to this question. It just begs for its own response.
Maybe a blank stare? A tedious description of the reproductive process? (“And I think that’s the way it works, am I right?”)
Maybe a reminder that God did not say,
“Children are a gift from Me…well, for the next 6,000 years or so. But after that, you brilliant people will come up with a way to stop them from coming. The easiest way will be with a pill that often causes mood disorders, weight gain, nausea, abdominal pain, cancer and sometimes even abortion. But don’t worry about those, this is my will for you, I just forgot to mention it when the Bible was written. And when people make rude comments about your sex lives (which I created), you should be ashamed. I mean, anyone with a brain should be on birth control.”
So, still trying to figure out how to respond to this awkward question.