Leslie Layland Fields is a contemporary author from Alaska. Even though she wasn’t born there she has lived there for 20 years or about 30 fishing seasons. During her talk she shared with us several pieces of literature that she has written. The first was her newest book, Surprise Child. She wrote this book sharing her experience with two surprise children after she thought she wouldn’t have more children or even thought she could have children. In great detail and specific description she walks us through her emotions and reactions as she found out and then eventually settled with the reality. She describes her self as a survivor with her first four children and how she knew what it would take to be a good mother again. She had just reached a freedom with her children a bit older and she some how thought she had reached the easy part of parenting. She described life on a graph with parenting children on the bottom and them grown up at the top. She writes, “My husband and I had ruined my life graph.”
Now, I realize that I am not a mother and won’t be for a while but through my psychology courses and extensive time with children I can’t help but be a bit surprised. I mean I realize that the children were surprises but how can anyone be so disappointed? Yes, it is hard work but what a joy that God has given a woman and husband. From my point of view it seems selfish and silly to have those reactions. Now, I am not discrediting them at all, but what led her to have those reactions. I feel as though it is the culture as a whole that leads someone to value individual and personal freedom over that little life. Now Mrs. Fields, in her defense, did not disvalue that little life, not at all, and on the contrary has loved those last two children as much as she loved her first four. It is clear through her essay about their trip to Guatemala. Mrs. Fields emphasized the importance of humbling ourselves as little children to be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Teachable and trusting, needy.
However, another question comes to mind. Am I just foolish? Will I feel the same way? For years I have off and on imagined a life like Amy Carmichael, one with many children, a never-ending flow of them, quite like an orphanage. I can’t wait to have children and babies. But the part I am most scared of is not the hardship of their need, but of when they get older. It is when their eternal life, character and life lessons start playing bigger roles in their lives. Will I be a good enough mother to direct them in the ways of the Lord? Will my husband and I be good role models for them and yet not be so controlling and try to control the outcome of their lives? My brother is three years younger than me and aside from the fact that we are extremely close, I have, because of my very motherly personality, taken great concern for him and what he does. I get worried about him sometimes and can only start to understand how my mother feels about all three of us.
To close though with Mrs. Fields, I appreciate her honesty because I can see how she grew out of her experiences. I hope to be able to say that one-day that the Lord helped me conquer my fears or disappointments.
She had a beautiful writing style and it helped her express a strong faith. Through that I have learned a lot about life and faith. She closed her essay “Mountains Unmoving” with this quote, “To shatter into what we hoped was there, and is.” I pray that I too will desire to shatter into my God. Who else can see me so vulnerable and broken, and still love me?