A Certain Sadness

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Today we took Samuel to Tampa to the Florida Aquarium because they were having a home-school family day. It was, overall, a wonderful trip. But in the course of it I was overcome with a certain sadness that has affected me from time to time. I looked around me and saw families of two, three, four, five, six, seven, or more children and I wondered why it was that Linda and I could not have been so graced.

Don't get me wrong, I am deeply grateful for the one child we were able to grab onto and keep. God certainly blessed us beyond blessing with Samuel. And had we had our own children, I don't know if we would have been as open to adopting as we had been--and so in a sense, this was a fulfillment of our particular vocation.

But, like Tevye, I find myself asking, "Would it have foiled some grand eternal plan, if I'd been a larger family man?"

God bless all of you who have been given so many to cherish. Cherish them a little for me and count your blessings, even as I count mine. God is good in all that He does, and perhaps my own desire is thwarted to good purpose. Whatever it may be it is want, not need, and following my own advice, I need to know the difference.

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As you have long encouraged me, I now encourage you to rejoice in God's perfect plan for your family. Enjoy your beloved Samuel and I will work to enjoy my sweet clan.

Yeah, know what you mean. I've felt the same way too.

One thing I've noticed about big families is the kids seem out-going and well-adjusted and more charismatic. This is very anecdotal; I'm basing it on only the three families I know with more than four kids. Regardless, Samuel will surely prove the exception to the "rule" given his charisma.

God has blessed you with a generous spirit and an abundance of love. I pray that He will honor your desire for fatherhood more deeply and richly than He already has.

As much as your words show that you are a loving and caring and grateful father, I think from my perspective I can say that Samuel is a very, very blessed boy to be so loved.

Clearly, he's meant to be with you.

I don't know why God doesn't answer all prayers for children. I would think that would be a Biblically blessed prayer--I think of Hannah and Elizabeth (Mary's cousin), of course.

It's a mystery. Why people who WANT big families and would be excellent to their young ones don't get kids, and others who are vile and terrible abusers get uterine cups that overfloweth.

It's a puzzlement.

I'm glad, though, that you got Samuel. And perhaps you'll be able to adopt more. May your quiver be full.


I'm sure you already know this, but on that .00001 percent chance that you may not: Natural Family Planning (NFP) can also be used to help conceive a child.
I want to second Katherine's remarks above about rejoicing in the plan God has for your family. There are things that you can do with your family that I can't do with mine. For instance, you can probably take your family on a vacation that involves a flight. It's very difficult if not financially impossible for me to take my wife and now 6 kids on a flight. And I would have to take 2 weeks worth of vacation if we wanted to drive to the west coast and have any decent amount of time to enjoy it. That's just one example of many.
So perhaps just one of God's plans for you and your family is to be able to go places and do things bigger families can't. Why? We'll only know on the other side, but perhaps Samuel will be exposed to things that may mold him into a better Scientist, or Priest, or construction worker, not to mention a better father and husband. That's not to say bigger families are putting their children at a disadvantage, but maybe God has some big plans for Samuel that a smaller family will better prepare him for.
God bless,

Dear Tom,

Now there's a thought that never occurred to me in my selfishness. Thank you so much for it. Perhaps you are right and it's just another of the sacrifices parents are called to make on behalf of their children. It's interesting--on the part of each, those with large families and those with smallers, sacrifices are required--they are just different forms of sacrifice--tailored to the family as it were.

Thank you.



Steven, a very good friend of mine has asked the same questions you have posed. She had one biological daughter. At great expense they were able to adopt a little boy from Russia and they are happy with their little family, but I know she really would have welcomed more. Perhaps God will bless you again with another child someday. If not though, Jesus and Mary were both only children and little Samuel might enjoy knowing he is in good company!


It is very hard, isn't it, Steven? In the homeschool community, we were very much an anomaly with our singleton.

But you know, blessings are blessings, and our hands have been free to pick up slack in many other places that we wouldn't have been able to had we been dealing with the bunch of children we had hoped for. God has given work for our hands and love for our hearts.

But it still isn't what I would have *chosen*, had I been the one doing the choosing.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on September 7, 2006 7:26 PM.

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