Not sure if I’ve announced here that I inherited a bonus child when I got married. Got a cool little two for one deal as soon as the ring hit my finger, and I have to chuckle every time I think about it. I’m not mature enough to raise a goldfish but God looked down at these subpar housekeeping skills, selfish tendencies, measly patience and He decided to bless me with a little extra person to love.
She’s eleven and curious about things I forgot people get curious about. She asks questions that stop me in my tracks and she challenges my assumptions at every turn. Sometimes I’m just not ready. Whew chilay. Like the other night she told us that she wasn’t sure she wanted to get married or have children. She said she didn’t want a boy to get in her way and distract her from reaching her goals. She also thought children were kind of a hassle. On this point, I shot her a quick “kettle calling the pot black” side eye to which she responded with a “you right, you right” chuckle.
Anyhoo, I assured her that a person she would consider marrying wouldn’t hold her back or if so, wouldn’t do it for long. She asked me how I could be so sure. Hmmm . . . how could I be so sure? Great question. Seriously, very thoughtful question. One that deserved an equally thoughtful answer. And so I thought about it. I stopped and gave myself a moment because I seek honesty and truth from her and from everyone I’m in relationship with, so I have to operate in it as well – even if the truth is a little messy. So, I couldn’t tell my eleven year old that her future mate wouldn’t hold her back at some point. I have no idea if that will happen, and I can’t completely assuage her fears about it. That’s because none of us know what future obstacles our present promises will face.
The promises we make to one another – both expressly and passively – are done so at risk of breaking them. When we pledge to act in the future on the circumstances of the present, there’s a huge chance that we’ll be unable to make good on those promises. Everyday, we promise in love to keep secrets for our friends, remain committed to our spouses, provide for our children, care for our parents, and a whole bunch of other stuff we don’t really know if we’ll be able to do. We can only commit ourselves in earnest to the extent that we feel good about the commitment when it’s made, relying on God or the ancestors or somebody to help us follow through when it matters.
The point is, love is a risk. We don’t know if our loved ones will keep their promises to us and we don’t know if we’ll keep ours to them. We use your spidey senses (“Peter tingle”. . . better known as discernment) and pray that we develop what it takes to act on the promises we made in love, break the ones we made in error, and forgive ourselves and others who don’t keep their promises to us.
That’s all I got on this. Shout out to my bonus baby for the inspiration this week.