Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Wildness of Domesticity

In the last few years I have become a student of families. There are several families I just really like: for their quirkiness, their generosity, their love for one another. These are families that, in some measure, represent what Chesterton was talking about when he coined the term “the wildness of domesticity.” (That was Chesterton, wasn’t it? Someone correct me if I’m wrong.)

On Monday night I had the joy of sharing dinner with one such family and then spending the night on their pull-out couch. The father and I, along with daughter #2, had bowls full of chocolate ice cream at 10:30pm. Isn’t that great? But the most awesome part of my time spent at their home was finding out that they are working to adopt a 12-year-old Latvian boy named Edgar. I was very impressed by the generosity of this family and their willingness to share their home with another child, in addition to the four they already have.

This morning I was having bagels with a friend of mine, a foster father of four, and he shared with me the news that he and his wife have now permanently adopted one of their children and are trying to adopt another. But the adoption streak didn’t end there. He told me that a mutual acquaintance of ours had recently been on a two-week trip to China. While there he met a 21-year-old Catholic seminarian who was being persecuted by the Communist government. He concluded that the best thing to do would be to legally adopt the seminarian, who is now studying at a seminary in Connecticut, free from persecution, the son of an American couple (who already had several children).

As I was thinking about these three cases of adoption, I came to see that “being open to life” is about a lot more than just disavowing contraception and having lots of babies. All three of these families had been living in such a way that when God placed new lives in their midst, they were able to respond with generosity. It’s something to think about in these last days before the March for Life, as we prepare to celebrate and defend the sanctity of human life.


  • Yes--it's a chapter in Chesterton's book "What's Wrong with the World."

    And I think you're on to something when you suggest that openness to life is much broader than we generally think. "Openness to life" is only an intelligible idea if it really means love of God and love neighbor as self. It certainly includes adopting the family-less into one's family.

    How good it is to foster life!

    By Blogger beatdrp, at 6:24 PM, January 18, 2007  

  • One form of openness to life could be purchasing a quincy t. shirt!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:10 AM, January 19, 2007  

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