The women of the Among Women panel have entered into each other’s sorrows. Now it’s time to share their joys. Here is Dot’s story.
Dot: Flexibility and Relationships
Far from making their life barren, not having children has enabled Dot and Larry to enjoy a different kind of richness, focusing on relationships and people that fall outside the normal family circle. The joys in Dot’s sphere center themselves around this flexibility.
There is the joy of the being able to work with Larry, driving truck across the country. Although they began the job from necessity, it was the absence of children that allowed them to do it together, and then to stay in it after they found that it was no longer a necessity, but still a ministry. As they drive, Dot and Larry share in a unique culture, and are privileged to be able to bring Christ to the people who populate that world.
This same flexibility made it easier for Dot and Larry to take time to minister in Nicaragua for a number of years. For a very short time, they worked at an orphanage and found that not being parents didn’t mean that they didn’t have something to offer to children. These children loved them. Dot remembers a day when Larry wanted to take a picture of the children getting off the bus as they came home from school. His plan ran into a snag when the children, overjoyed to see him, rushed off of the bus and almost knocked him down. Dot was inspired by the example of these children, from their backgrounds of loneliness and abandonment, being able to love so deeply and completely. They weren’t afraid to open their hearts.
Finally, the flexibility of their sphere strengthens their relationships with their extended family. At family reunions, they have been able to spend more focused time with their nieces and nephews, frequently hearing, “You’re our favorite aunt and uncle.” Dot also found that her relationship with her Mother differed from her sisters’ relationships. Unlike her sisters, Dot had no children to pull her primary focus away from her family of origin, and she and her mother were friends in a different way than was possible for her sisters.
Although a life without children is not one that many couples would choose, Dot’s joy is that God has used exactly that situation to enable her and Larry to minister in situations and relationships outside the easy reach of those with families. And, of course, it made it easier to attend the Among Women retreats. After all, in the tongue-in-cheek words of Larry: “We didn’t even have to tell our kids when to plan to have their babies.”