Caring for one another, particularly when few see what we are doing, isn’t God’s back-up or second-best plan for human life; it’s what He designed for us to do from the beginning. This is the end of life.
A friend recently overheard a young woman comment, “I feel like once you have kids, your life is just done.” So, despite pressure from her mom, she said, she was in no rush to settle down. “I’ve got too much living to do. I want to wait a while before I’m finished.”
It’s not uncommon to hear people suggest things like this. Marriage, family, and parenting are seen by many as distractions from what life is really about (amusement or travel or a career), or even worse, a sort of death sentence that marks the end of all our fun. For example, despite ample research showing otherwise, there’s a clear message in sitcoms and romcoms that the quickest way to become miserable and end a good sex life is to get married. Being single means being free and unencumbered, the story goes, especially for women.
In our recent conversation about the Dobbs case currently before the Supreme Court, Dr. Ryan Anderson described a similar sentiment: the claim often advanced by many in the pro-abortion movement that women “need” abortion in order to fully participate in society. Anderson observed, “If that statement is true, that is a condemnation of our society.” If we’re only fully human when we’re “free” from loving and caring for those closest to us, we have a puny vision of humanity.
So much of the American dream centers on pleasures and possessions, career paths and vacations, while seeing the dirty work of diapers, tending to a sick spouse, or making a meal for a neighbor as something between necessary and avoidable annoyances? Even Christians are tempted to imagine that in “real” Christian life and ministry, a big platform is preferable over caring for actual people.