A Soft Sucking Symphony

I am learning what parents of twins, triplets, quads, and quints (and nurses in nursery wards) have long known: The sound of multiple babies sucking their bottles at once.

Yes.  It is a precious noise.  All the soft grunts, sighs, and swallows making rhythmic tempo – IN STEREO!  You have to turn off a lot of other noise in the house to hear it, but it is a special and beautiful noise.  Taking care of two or more babies at once is an enormous job.  Just one takes all you’ve got.  Two or more just gets to be mind-blowing, but then the Soft Sucking Symphony reveals the incredible blessing!

It’s like double the crap too!  Poo-pocalypse!  Dirty diapers at all hours.  One wakes up at 2 am hungry and starts crying, and sure enough the other one joins the fray.  Then after all the mess is cleaned up, all the lights turned back off, there in the dark Silent Night God plays his Soft Sucking Symphony – AND BLESSED ARE THE EARS THAT HEAR IT!!!

But then tomorrow, early before the rooster crows, before even Peter has a chance to deny his Lord three times, the pooping, the peeing, the crying, starts over – ALL – over AGAIN!  It seems there is no end!  And in the early morning, with the older children running around, the coffee percolating, the days headlines barking on the TV, your honey frantically searching for the car keys, you are not likely to hear the Soft Sucking Symphony.  No.  That is the blessing of the wee hours of the Silent Night with Baby Jesus away in his manger.  In the raw lucidity of, say, Monday morning, there is no time to notice or care and too much noise interfering anyway.

And it’s not like the infant says, “Thank you” or learns a lesson and never does THAT again.  No.  The rodeo is on again at “bedtime” Monday night… and Tuesday night, and Wednesday, Thursday… and Next Monday… and the Monday after that… and the next… on and on and on and on!  You can’t imagine how long this will go on!

And then eighteen years pass and you watch your children leave HOME and you think it all went so fast!  You recall the Soft Sucking Symphony that you will never hear again, and you long for those late night meetings with Baby Jesus crapping on you.

No.  The baby does not say: Thanx.  And growing up is both PAINFULLY slow and fast AT THE SAME TIME.  It does not go in a steady straight line, but a day comes when the child is fit for college, or as one of our children found – the United States Marine Corps.  And you spend the rest of your life hoping you made them fit for the Kingdom of God!

Newborn babies seem to have a built-in excuse for all this sloppy behavior.  All this crapping, puking, crying, and peeing get a pass, and we hold anyone who puts one of these creatures out to the night criminally accountable!  They don’t know any better, we say.  And it’s true.

Grown up homeless men and women, however, have a built-in stigma and bare the blame for both their own behavior and that of others.  All the boozing, crapping, crying and withdrawing (whether caused in part of in whole by mental illness, a culture of drug addiction and divorce, or even war-related PTSD) gets little or no pass.  In fact, “helping” too much meets public scorn!

But I am a living witness.  If you go join a camp of homeless men and woman who share an interest in worshiping Jesus with you, then Jesus is there in your midst (Matt. 18:20).  And as you worship deep into the night, perhaps you will hear, as I have heard, another version of the Soft Sucking Symphony.  People snoring, or as I had the pleasure once of eavesdropping a couple who spoke of their dreams for the future home they wanted to build together.

It might take eighteen years to get them fit for living in a HOME, but who are we to say they are not worth it?  And why are we soooooo easily discouraged over the one baby and not the other?



  1. Larry Who · November 26, 2016

    A part of my history includes sleeping in cars and digging through dumpsters for food. This time period gave me a love for the poor and needy, which is eternally valuable.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Agent X · November 29, 2016

    My computer going through some issues lately, I just came back to check on this post.

    I am surprised no one to this point (myself included) reading here has not suggested that there is something wrong with the statement: “…eighteen years pass and you watch your children leave HOME…”

    Why are we spending 18 years getting our kids to leave? Is this the way God created us? Is this not a cultivation on our own part? Cultivation in a fallen world, no less???

    And does this observation then shed light on the brokenness of both homelessness and on homeless ministry? I mean if we make it our goal to raise kids to LEAVE HOME, then just exactly what is our real goal when we do out reach to the poor and homeless?

    I am starting to think we need to rethink HOME before we rethink homelessness.


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