Thursday, July 8, 2010

Rise up and call her blessed

The NYT recently published an article profiling three prominent female golfers, discussing a conundrum common to many working women – career or children?

The article went on to point out – in a picturesque simile - that as with many careers, the prime years for career building and child-bearing overlap “like a total eclipse of the moon”. In the last two years, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa have bowed out from professional golf, citing family as the reason. In December 2006, Cristie Kerr (currently the world no. 1) married Erik Stevens, a 45 year old man who – by his own admission – wants children. It is not unforeseeable that in the next few years, Kerr might also retire from pro golfing to focus on marriage and motherhood.

I read two articles almost side by side today, this article from the NYT discussing profiling three prominent female golfers and their decisions vis a vis the issue of career and motherhood and this thoughtful series of blogposts mourning the passing of Sono Sato Harris.

For those who don’t know who she was, Sono Harris was the mother of Joshua Harris, the guy who authored the seminal Christian book on dating "I Kissed Dating good-bye” (yeah, I know, controversial right?). Joshua Harris wrote the book at age 21 and is now the senior pastor of a church in Maryland. Sono Harris had six other children and two of her other sons, Brett and Alex also co-wrote a book, “Do Hard Things: A teenage rebellion against low expectations” which incidentally, was read by Abby Sunderland, the American teenager during her attempt to sail solo around the world.

Sono Harris died on 4 July 2010. Hers was a life characterized by self sacrifice, courage and strength and tributes poured in, from her children and many others.

I switched from reading about her to reading this NYT article and the disjunction between the two made my head spin.

Spread out over, two, three tabs in my browser were loving tributes to Sono Harris and on this tab? A discussion of “conversations on motherhood among golfers now often include surrogacy, adoption, freezing eggs, assisted reproduction techniques and the side effects of hormone injections.” and how the pregnancy weight gain made surrogacy "the logical option".

Cognitive dissonance much?

The only thing I could think of when I read that was - I do not ever want to have a conversation like that and God willing, I never will.

This isn't to say that marriage and kids are the only possible goals in life. But seriously, this is an age when personal achievement and fulfillment are considered to be the paramount goals of an individual's life. This pursuit of happiness is largely based on a very selfish and fleeting model of happiness - one that is premised on individual satisfaction and fulfillment.

You know, when I came across the photo of Sono Harris, taken just before she died, I was struck by how beautiful she was. She was thin; the cancer had worn her down but she looked kind and gentle. I looked at it and realized I knew other faces like that in real life. People whose lives are marked by courage, service to others and a great loving unselfishness have faces like hers.

It's when you see people like that, that you come to understand 1 Peter 3:4 "the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" and Proverbs 31:28 "Her children rise up and call her blessed".

I never knew her, but I've been indirectly blessed by her sacrifices and am deeply grateful for people like her, men and women both, who model Christ for us.

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