Learning to respect another’s experience
Thursday, Jul 10, 2014 10:03 am
One of the enjoyable aspects of the ďlazy, hazy, crazy days of summerĒ is getting caught up on the kind of reading I donít make time for the rest of the year. I devote July and August to novels that have caught my eye on the best-sellers lists over the past year.
For example, Iíve just finished Canadian author Joseph Boydenís award-winning The Orenda, an engaging tale of hostilities between the Iroquois, the Huron and the Catholic Church in early Canada. Over the recent long weekend, I devoured another 500 -pager titled Natchez Burning by Greg Niles, a fascinating tale of racial prejudice set in the American South. By the time you read this, I will have completed Jodi Piccoultís brilliant Sing You Home, a captivating work exploring numerous topics of current intrigue: infertility, gay marriage, American ďreligitics,Ē musical therapy, among them.
Piccoultís novel prompts significant thought on my part regarding the ease with which we assume our experience of life is the ďnorm,Ē that itís everyoneís experience of life, or even that our experience should be everyoneís experience. Assuming itís even possible anymore to define whatís ďnormalĒ in our society, Sing You Home cleverly immerses readers in a trauma with implications for Airdrieís population.
Something we often hear about our delightful community is its youthfulness, that itís home to so many young families. Indeed, a recent assignment that took me through a local neighborhood aptly reminded me that most houses here are homes where children live. The evidence was ample Ė sidewalk chalk, water-guns of jaw-dropping capacity, bicycles with training-wheels, street-hockey sticks, etc.
The couples of this city are indeed a fertile demographic. Thatís partly what makes it difficult to remember that infertility is a burden for some among us who would give - and are giving - virtually everything to conceive. The sound of children playing, the cry of a newborn baby Ė that which brings smiles to most faces instead brings stabs of pain to the hearts of those who suffer in soul-sucking silence. What comes easily for most has proven frustratingly elusive for them.
I know this because Iím in ongoing conversations with some from this segment of our population. They tell me how hurtful it is to hear nonchalant chit-chat about abortion and birth control, how quickly tears come when they see or hear parents ďlose itĒ with little ones.
So, remember: the noble ideal of loving your neighbour like you love yourself begins with considering your ďnormĒ isnít everybodyís ďnorm.Ē
Tim is pastor of Faith Community Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org