"You are doing such a good thing."
"It is wonderful. We all are so proud of you."
"You’re a good man, Charlie Brown."
All of these things and more have been said to me. Each time I smile, nod, and say an honest, "Thank you."
But I wince inside.
I don't wince because the people are not genuine; just the opposite is true. And not because I am too humble to receive the praise; sadly I am not. For a long time I was not even sure why I was troubled. It has been something that I have been thinking about for months now.
Other "good deeds" that I carry out elicit no such response from people. Nobody comments on the common or the expected nice things that I do. When I loan out my truck, the recipient thanks me. No one else thanks me, because loaning out a truck is a common good deed for truck owners. When I take my son Buddy to the emergency room there is no fanfare because although the deed is uncommon (well, sort of), it is expected.
But adopting orphans from Ethiopia. Now there is an event that is neither common nor expected. And so it is noteworthy. "You are doing such a good thing," they say.
Now I understand why the comment makes me wince. When someone speaks those words it testifies to the fact that what I am doing is uncommon and unexpected.
But the need is so great. The children are so beautiful. Life is so precious. They are "made in the image of God." Why should caring for orphans be uncommon and unexpected?
I dream of a world where all children are cherished. A world where we spend more time and energy securing the future of the world's children than securing the future of the world's oil reserves. A world where caring for orphans is common and expected.
I dream of a world where it would not occur to anyone to say, "Your doing such a good thing" to an orphan-adopting dad.