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  Time is running out for my friend. While we are sitting at lunch she casually mentions she and her husband are thinking of starting a family. "We're taking a survey,"she says, half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

  "It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral. "I know,"she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous holidays..."

  But that's not what I mean at all. I look at my friend, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will be vulnerable forever.

  I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without thinking: "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die. I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub.

  I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for child care, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting, and she will think her babyy's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her child is all right.

  I want my friend to know that every decision will no longer be routine. That a five-year-old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at a restaurant will become a major dilemma. The issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in the lavatory. However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

  Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the added weight of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her own life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. She would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years—not to accomplish her own dreams—but to watch her children accomplish theirs.

  I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to hit a ball. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it hurts.

  My friend's look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I say finally. Then, squeezing my friend's hand, I offer a prayer for her and me and all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this holiest of callings.










  The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small,

  uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him,

  and every day he scanned the horizon for help,

  but none seemed forthcoming.

  Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of

  driftwood to protect him from the elements,

  and to store his few possessions. But then one day,

  after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.

  The worst had happened; everything was lost.

  He was stunned with grief and anger.

  "God how could you do this to me!" he cried. Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of

  a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

  "How did you know I was here?"

  asked the weary man of his rescuers. "We saw your smoke signal," they replied.

  It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad.

  But we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives,

  even in the midst of pain and suffering.

  Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground

  it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

  For all the negative things we have to say to ourselves,

  God has a positive answer for it在一场船难中,唯一的生存者随着潮水,漂流到一座无人岛上。







  突然发现他的小屋竟然陷在熊熊烈火之中, 大大火引起的浓烟不断向天上窜。



  顿时,眼泪从他的眼角中流出。 第二天一早,他被一艘正靠近小岛的船只的鸣笛声所吵醒。



  因为我们看到了信号般的浓烟。」他们回答说。 人在碰到困难时,很容易会沮丧。







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