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What is Required?

“Great! Now that you’re done with that dissertation nonsense, you can focus on getting married and having babies!”

Wait. What?!

I had to ask her to repeat what she had just said to me because I could not believe it. I was on the phone with a close family friend who had called to ask me how my dissertation defense went. My parents had called her and asked her to pray for me and she decided to call me to check up on the product of her prayer and to, of course, give me a little life advice.

She went on to inform me that despite my degrees, “A woman is nothing without children.”

And this entire conversation happened in Spanish, so it sounded a lot worse.

I wish that I could say that I had taken the high road: That I had politely disagreed and hung up the phone, but that would be a lie.

I laid into her. I let her know exactly what I thought about children. Hers in particular.

I’ve had some time to think about that conversation. Despite what was said to me, I’m sad that I used my words to tear somebody down just because I didn’t agree with what they said.

Maybe the reason that it is so easy to judge the choices of others is because we’ve put some much thought into our own. I’m willing to bet that my family friend put in as much thought and prayer into leaving school and having children as I did when I decided to apply for graduate school. Maybe that whole conversation could have been avoided if we had taken the time to empathize with each other.

That phone call is in the past and there is nothing that I can do to change that. But I hope that in the future my conversation with those whose life choices differ from my own will go something like this:

“You just graduated? How will you use your degree to act justly?”

“You’re engaged?! What a great opportunity to learn to love mercy!”

“I’m sorry that your marriage fell apart. Please let me know how I can support you as you walk humbly with your God.”

Because, after all, that’s all that really matters.

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
 To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8, NIV).

Jael Amador writes from New York, New York.

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About Jael Amador

Jael Amador

writes from New York, New York.

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