When Babies Cry
During opening meditation at Sunday's service a baby cried out, breaking the silence of meditation, which made me smile. While it made me smile I know it had the opposite effect on so many church goers. Their feelings are that babies should be in the back of the church sitting in that little closed up box of a room so that they do no disrupt the service.
But I would argue that church is for everyone including crying babies. In fact, one could argue that it is ultimately more important that families with children of all ages attend services, in essence guaranteeing a continuation of the faith. Babies cry, that's what they do. Not being born with a full vocabulary really limits what they can do to make their point.
And don't get me wrong, the cry boxes of shame are perfect for those individuals who ignore their children who are behaving badly. It would be a nice resting place for them and their children but unfortunately they are ignoring their children and don't care that they are disrupting your ability to concentrate on the service. The people who end up there are those people who are tripping over themselves to quiet their newborn baby's cry which is barely audible.
Newborn babies cry. I first had this revelation about babies crying in church after the birth of our daughter. Long story short, our middle child Kelli was placed on a ventilator (a machine that breathed for her) about 20 minutes after she born and she remained on it until she was almost four months old. It would be that long before we heard our newborn baby cry - and I don't mind saying, it was a perfectly delightful sound.
The sound of babies crying is a matter of perspective, of course, but from my family's perspective a baby crying, is a healthy baby which is way better than the alternative that we had come to know so well - a non-healthy baby that cannot cry or even worse can cry but with no sound. That silent cry is heart wrenching. So I challenge you to change your perspective the next time you hear a baby cry. Imagine that child without sound and what that means to its family. Imagine a world where every child was so docile it never spoke out, there would never be progress made in our world. Imagine a church without children; it soon would die due to the lack of continued growth.
Perspective is important in all we do but it is equally important to put yourself in the place of others. How would you be feeling right now if you were the new mom or dad fumbling around for the binky or a bottle. What if you were a new mom uncomfortable with breast feeding in public but needing to do it to quiet the child? That baby can feel that stress and reacts accordingly. In fact, science and religion both tell us that energy is all around us and in a way connects us all. Your added discontent to that of the parent is only compounding the nervous energy filling the room.
Next time you hear a baby cry at an inopportune time, focus on the miracle of life and send positive energy and love to the child and the family. It might not stop the baby from crying, but you will feel better from positive thoughts and energy filling your being.