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June 3, 2011

My wife and I had a baby recently.  That is the biggest reason I haven't been on this site to blog lately.  Now that it's been a month since his birth, we have to get back to business, whether we're sleeping enough or not, so I may as well get back to writing.

We've been showered with the gifts and special attention that is often given to young families like us.  One package that I wasn't expecting was put together by a local community organization.  This package contained complimentary products provided by various local businesses, information on where we could find various support and services related to our newborn child, and brochures giving us tips on day-to-day living in our new environment.  The businesses involved in this program are mostly hoping to drum up future business, but as new parents, much of what they provided was invaluable.

One of the items came as a bit of a surprise.  After my wife had already sorted through everything, I rummaged through the bag on my own.  After flipping through coupons and sample products, I found a new looking make-up case.  When I opened however, it was completely empty except for a slip of paper. I was confused until I read what was written on the pink note.  It was contact information for a local abused women's shelter.  It was as though it was strategically hidden there in a way that the shelter could discretely communicate with victimized women in a place their husband's wouldn't check.  (Ironically my wife was disappointed to find the makeup container empty and didn't bother to read the note and my frugality led me to investigate deeper.)

It was a somber moment as we reflected on the plight of the poor women who, instead of celebrating this joyful time, are feeling fear and are in need of refuge.  There are many times when we recognize that it is a tragedy that a charitable organization needs to exist, and we are thankful that there are people in place to staff and support them.

I attended a Promise Keeper's rally one time as a teenager, and at the entrance we were greeted by protesters who called us to love the women in our lives as equals.  Some men ignored them, some vocally challenged them.  I approached them and got to have a pleasant conversation (after a fwe scoffers rejected my invitation to discuss their brochures.)  Closer to the door of the auditorium, a lone woman stood carrying a bucket.  She didn't say a word but it was clear from the label on the bucket that she was collecting for a similar women's shelter.  Many men gave generous donations to this bucket mostly to spite the protesters.  The placement of this woman may have been coordinated by the protesters, who knows.

Some husbands, out of self-preservation or self-assurance that their wives don't need those services, might hide this information from their wives.  Some husbands might point out the plight of these women as a way of showing their wives how good they have it.

Obviously these organizations still need to make their presence known.  I am grateful that my daughter, my sisters, the women in my congregation and all my female friends can easily find contact information for women's shelters, heaven forbid they should ever need one.  But I also need to recognize that at any point, my wife is a click of a mouse away from information on divorce lawyers, and even dating websites that cater to married people looking to cheat.  I can't hide that from her, convince her with words that she doesn't need them, or rest assured that she would never do that.  The only option I have is to love fully and completely, as though the power some husbands fight to keep is already gone.

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