Celebrate the miracle that is life
Did you know, according to the current U.S. Census Bureau, as of Aug. 1, 2010, the population of the world is expected to be 6,859,480,895? (Ask one of your kids if they can read a number that large!)
I don't know about you, but I can't really even comprehend that amount of people. Since I'm a visual learner, I tried to imagine what that would look like lining toothpicks up side-by-side. After counting each sliver of wood, it would seem that the individual piece becomes inconsequential and insignificant, doesn't it? I mean just one toothpick/person, more or less — do they really have any real value?
While perusing this census data, I also discovered that there are approximately 490,000 babies born every day worldwide. That's a ton of babies! With so many, can it be that each of these little lives is still significant?
I recently made a trip to California to escort my daughter to the doctor. She's pregnant and it was the day she would find out if she is going to have a boy or a girl. I must say I'm blown away by all the newfangled equipment they have nowadays, all the tests they can run, and all the information and resources available to young mothers.
My daughter even has a website that automatically sends her an e-mail each week regarding the current growth and development of her unborn child. The Internet, along with scads of magazines and books are full of pregnancy tips, healthy recipes and all sorts of great child-rearing advice.
The 1 p.m. obstetrics appointment finally arrived. We were ushered into a small room and introduced to the ultrasound technician. It didn't take long before she gently began to guide that magic wand across my daughter's small, bulging stomach. I felt a chill and prickles creep up the back of my neck as I reached for my daughter's hand.
The doctor announced, “Your baby is about 5 inches long and weighs about 5 ounces.” I tried to think of something about that size — that's hardly much larger than a cube of butter — so teeny! We listened in awe at the gurgling underwater sound of its steady, strong heartbeat.
I found myself gasping for breath as the monitor continued to explore. There it was — we could so clearly see it — perfectly shaped, snuggling and floating in the safety of its mother's womb.
“Oh, what a miracle!” I heard myself whisper. Tears fell as I watched my daughter's eyes, carefully counting the number of arms and legs and delicate, little fingers. We both longed to just reach through the picture on the screen and grasp hold of that precious child, this tender, little treasure that we had already fallen in love with.
At only 20 weeks, the baby's mother and father already adore it. My daughter is cautious and careful about how she treats her body these days. She pays close attention to the food she eats, the exercise she gets, the rest she receives and even the relaxing environment she tries to surround herself with. No alcohol, tobacco and limited caffeine for this delicate, priceless package she carries inside her.
It's so amazing to me that this little, unborn stranger is already embraced with such love, hope and dreams for a bright and successful future. Her entire extended family is already willing to open their hearts, their homes and share everything they have with this tiny, little relative we have yet to meet. Inconsequential and insignificant? I think not!
As I returned home, I found myself holding that endearing picture of my grandchild in my heart and paying closer attention to the pregnant moms and young children I see. Each one of these little ones once lay in their mother's womb, waiting to discover if their parents will treat them as the precious miracle they are.
My heart breaks when I hear about the 46 million abortions each year or about newborn babies being born with opiate addictions. How can we not weep as we watch the television screen showing the starving, orphaned children in the world, and listen to too many stories telling of the atrocious abuse of our innocent children. It appears as if some lives hold no more value than the wooden toothpick, used for their accounting.
Yes, there are so many people in our world, and so many babies born each day, at times too many to count. But I fear when we cease pausing to care for these unborn children and stop celebrating each of these miracles, we lose our humanity and our demise can't be far behind.
Oh, and just in case you are wondering — our baby is a girl!
Karen Spencer is a full-time instructor teaching speech/communication and education and Arizona Western College, also teaches part-time at Northern Arizona University-Yuma. She can be reached at email@example.com.