Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Childlike and Childless

It is the childlike mind that finds the kingdom.
-Charles Fillmore

I was planting tomatoes over the weekend when the shovel hit some resistance with a loud clunk. Bending down to look, I noticed something reflecting sunlight from down in the cool, dark hole. It was glass. Or glass bottles, rather. Several of them.

One was brown glass, and had a large "A" with a bird stamped all over it. Another was short and squatty. Another was cylindrical and skinny. And then there was this one... no more than 3 inches tall, with the words "Bayer Aspirin" forged into its little sides. It's hard to see from the picture, but it's there.

I brought them in, cleaned them up (which took some doing as they were all filled with caked dirt), and put a tiny posie in the aspirin bottle. I put it on the dining room table and took a break and looked at it.

I found myself wishing, at that very moment, that I had a child.

To be fair, I've been thinking about it often lately, but at that exact moment it hit me like a tidal wave. A few weeks ago, a lady in town asked me if, when I got the house fixed up, I would consider helping the local Child Protective Services and maybe... keep a child or two in between homes? I gasped. "It's a lot to consider," I said thoughtfully. And it is.

The trouble is, I haven't stopped considering it. As I was making bread Sunday, I suddenly wished I had a little pair of hands nearby. I could imagine tearing off a small lump of dough and handing it to those tiny hands. "Push it like this," I'd say. And we'd knead away, getting flour into every crevice and cranny in the kitchen.

And then planting those tomatoes. I could just see... in the middle of me prattling on and on about planting things... the shovel hitting those bottles, and suddenly childlike enthusiasm would hang in the air as we uncovered the "buried treasure". Imagining sharing that moment with an elated little one as we rushed to pick flowers and fill the tiny bottle with water... brought tears to my eyes. Still does.

My mother and I made plans yesterday to spend my 28th birthday, in three weeks, in Savannah, Georgia. I'm manic with anticipation. But when I stop... just before I turn out the lights at night... I think, I'm 28. I won't ever be brave (foolish?) enough to attempt marriage again. I'll never have a daughter to take to Georgia on her 28th birthday.

It's enough to keep you home on a Tuesday morning, usually my best day of the week, draining a coffee pot and staring listlessly out the window.

I got an email last night from someone who read yesterday's post and expressed doubt over my childlike faith. "You make it all sound too easy," she said. "Faith is not simple. It does not make you happy."

She's right, probably. Maybe I do make it sound easy. Some days... days like today... it's not. And faith... wherever you find it and however it meets you... is not simple. It slips, and laughs, and rallies, blushes if any see, according to Emily Dickinson. And no, faith cannot make you happy.

But it is... and always will be... the substance of things hoped for. On happy days and sad. It is, and always will be, my rallying cry. My reason to turn off the coffee pot and start my day, childlike and childless. It's that way for the woman who'd like to escape her children... even if for a day, and the woman staring out the window wishing she had one to escape with... even if for a day.

Fillmore says "it's the childlike mind that finds the kingdom". Undoubtedly true. But it's also the childlike minds with faith that triumph. That seek... and find. Surely to us the Kingdom is just around the bend....


Anonymous said...


Here is one of my favorite thoughts on faith:

Dr. Martin Luther once wrote that "Faith is God's work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts and all our powers.

Blessings to you!

~~Mikki Jo said...

Brin, thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I really enjoyed visiting yours and can't wait to stop back in to see what your up to. Have a wonderful evening. Blessings to you, Mikki

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for a few weeks now, and I love it. We share many interests and tastes. After reading your post today, I had to comment. Three years ago, I bought an old house and fixed it up. I was 31, single, and dreamed of little ones fillig it. I realized God could use me and my house, and I didn't have to sit around and wait for Mr. Right. I became a foster parent. In the process of finishing up my house, I started dating my neighbor, who is now my husband. I ended up adopting my first and only foster girls, two sisters who are now 8 and 4. I didn't go into foster care planning to adopt, but God has his own plans! I can't imagine life without them. It has been a wild journey--becoming a mother--much harder than I ever imagined, and I don't know if I would have survived without faith in my Father, and his strength and grace to keep me going. Anyway, remember, God gives you the desires of your heart, in his own timing and his own way. And don't forget to enjoy the time you have now, single and free! Being a mother is wonderful, but you give up a lot. I can look back to my childless days and remember being lost in a book all day, with no one to worry about but myself; or taking a road trip at the last minute--ahh, spontanaity! Those days are no more, but I have no regrets, I enjoyed them while I could. Now, life may be more demanding, but it is also much more rewarding!
So, I guess what I want to convey to you is-keep seeking his will. Maybe foster care is in your future, maybe not. God has given you a desire for children for a reason. Don't give up hope. It makes me think of Ephesians 3:20, "...he is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine..."

Well, that was a big ramble. Thanks for your blog. I really enjoy reading about your house, projects, thoughts, and journey.
Oh, email me if you have any questions about foster care or my experiences.


PortraitofPeter said...

Such a deeply emotive "posting".

I found the quotation by Charles Fillmore to be a wise choice when considering this post..

"It is the childlike mind that finds the kingdom". -Charles Fillmore.

I too found myself wishing that I had children, and have indeed for many years. As your elegant writing identifies the "nuture" of a child.

I do sincerely wish and indeed offer prayer that you will through God's guidance become a loving mum.

Fostering is a quality that one is guided to and the heart's yearning is expressed through the love of a foster child.

May I end with your beautiful quotation:

"But it's also the childlike minds with faith that triumph. That seek... and find. Surely to us the Kingdom is just around the bend...."

Blessings from the heart and in prayer.

Anonymous said...

No, faith isn't easy, and it won't make you happy, but it will give you joy, which is infinately more important. Joy can't be destroyed as quickly as happiness can, and it isn't dependent upon circumstances. Faith fills the God-shaped hole we all have in our spirits and makes life worth-while. It gives it meaning. It gives us a reason to get up in the morning. You are right, faith gives us hope that we would be destroyed without. I live amongst people that have no hope. They spend their days doing whatever they can, no matter how harmful it is for their bodies, to forget life. And every day I HOPE that I can share the hope I have in the Truth I know about the Saviour of the world and make someone's like completely different. Faith is life-changing, and if someone says they've tried it but it didn't make life better for them, then they didn't really have real faith. Since faith is a gift from God, if you are trying to get it from something or someone else, you are getting a fake, and it won't last, and won't change your life.

I love you, Brin, and I'm proud of you. I'm proud that you are digging in the dirt and still finding faith and joy instead of cinicism. `SW

newcreationart said...


This post touched a special place in my heart. I am also 28 and childless. I've been looking out my window the last few minutes thinking about it. I've been watching some of the boys who are at camp this week playing at the basketball court and swing set. I would like to have kids of my own very much, but I've realized that, for now, that's not what God has for me. I'm starting to seriously pursue my dream of doing art, and I don't think that's something that I would have pursued if I had kids. When God is ready to give me kids, I'll gladly follow that path. But for now, I'm happy to be with the kids that I work with and do this whole art thing on the side. Thanks for posting this. It has allowed me to sort out my thoughts on this subject and come to a conclusion. And thank you, God, for this post and how you spoke to me through it.


P.S. If you're interested in finding out more about the camp I work at, check out www.youthhaven.org