Hope and Joy for Today
I watched the movie Children of Men last night. It takes place in Britain, twenty years in the future. The twist in this work of science fiction is that no baby has been born anywhere in the whole world for over eighteen years.
What happens in a world with no children? What happens when you believe that you and the people around you will be the last humans to ever exist? As you can imagine the world of 2027 is a horrible place in this movie. Graffiti in the background at one point in the movie expressed this: "The last one to die please turn off the light."
There was a particularly touching scene for me when two of the characters hide out for a moment in a rundown, abandoned building. It doesn't take long to notice that the building had once been a school for children. But now in 2027 it is only some deer and other creatures of the wild walk those halls.
What role do children play in our world and in our lives? Being a parent has been a big challenge for me. Jesus teaches us that true joy in life comes from selfless service toward others... well, nothing forces you to become a selfless servant faster than becoming a dad or mom. Here's an example: On Monday the baseball season begins when the Indians play the White Sox at 1:00. In a previous life I would have popped some corn, got my scorecard ready, and enjoyed three hours in peace focusing completely on that game. Being a dad will not allow me to have such a selfish indulgence. Sure I'll watch the game, at least some of it, but there is no way I'll be able to keep score. I'm a dad and my kids will need me. I understand that, sometimes resent it, but thankfully in times of deep awareness I do realize that its so cool.
It is a blessing that we live in a world with children. I had a moment this morning when I got to watch my son Grant playing outside my office window for a few seconds as his class was coming in from recess. Unlike the school in Children of Men the walls of this preschool contain life that is more than just a stray family of deer. This afternoon I sat with my daughter Bailey as she took a hearing test. She must have raised her hand four or five dozen times after hearing that faint "beep" in her headphones. As I was looking in her eyes I felt great love for her. And that's not all, I had another occasion for joy when I came home for lunch only to find my youngest son, Preston, wearing a cute Spiderman costume. He was so proud of himself.
What a horrible future it would be without children. Children have made my present a time of great joy and great hope. They are our future and praise be to God, children are our present as well.