Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

Love is the Narrow Path

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There is a path that is narrow. The sides are covered with thorn bushes whose branches reach out across like hands trying to grab you all who attempt to pass. The skin of arms and legs scratched in warning of where the path may lead.

The path itself is uneven, scattered with rocks and stones and tree roots. In some places it is covered with leaves and branches making the correct path impossible to see. The bridge that once crossed the rushing river is now rotted and unstable. In some areas the bridge is incomplete.

The path is empty and lonely. It feels like nobody has walked down it in a long time. Some approach, but once they see it, they move on. The few who venture out onto the uncertain trail often turn around.

photo by (creative commons license)

photo by Centurion (creative commons license)

A Good Thing

Most of the time  when I tell someone I have adopted three special needs kids from China, they respond positively. A smile will spread across their face. Most people tell me how amazing my wife must be (which happens to true). Some even tell me they wish there were more people who would do such a thing in the world.

Rarely does someone respond negatively.

My experience has been that everyone seems to agree that adoption is good. We all know that for children to be helpless, poor, and abandoned is not right. It is not the way life is supposed to be.

Kids are supposed to have parents and families. They are supposed to have their medical needs adequately addressed. All little ones, no matter race or gender or physical need or religion, deserve love.

And when we see children go from alone and helpless to being part of a family, it resonates with us. We know it to be good in the deepest part of our being. And when we hear the stories of others, like my friend Amber, it warms our souls.

Which leads to an important, logical question. If so many people believe adoption to be a good thing then why are there so many orphans?

If everyone knows that helping children is good, then why do so few choose to do it?

The Simple Answer

The question leads to a bigger one. Why do we not choose to do what we know to be good? Why do we choose to ignore? Why do we choose to be indifferent?

Whether the issue is adoption or helping the mother considering abortion or helping the homeless or getting clean water to those who are without or getting medicine to those with HIV, why do we not choose to be a part of the solution?

There are different ways to answer. Sometimes we say we don’t have the money or time. Sometimes we say we don’t have the resources. Sometimes we say we need to do other things first, like get married or save up money or become established with a good job.

And these reasons may be true. And they may be good reasons to wait or to do something else.

I believe there is a simpler, deeper answer. The reason more people don’t do these good things is because it is so hard to do.

Everybody Wants the Good Life

Why is it so easy for Apple and Samsung to sell new phones? Why is it so easy to convince people to buy new cars? Why is it so easy for the Super Bowl to sell every ticket at a ridiculous price?

Because these things are fun. We enjoy them. The only price we pay is our money, and we immediately get something in return.

The roads we tend to choose are easy. They are wide. They feel safe. And everybody else is on them.

Love is the Narrow Path

We are surrounded by need and suffering and poverty and hurt. We see it all around us, but we don’t stop and help. We don’t give more of our time. We don’t give more of our money. We don’t enter into the suffering with those who are unable to escape it.

We don’t choose the path of love because it is hard.

Any good work that needs to be done, orphan care or otherwise, is this way.

No wonder there are still so many orphans. No wonder there are so many who are sick and poor. No wonder there are so many who are lonely. The road to help them is long and hard and narrow.

To love will cost us something. To love will open ourselves to the risk of being hurt. To love will mean giving up things we do not like to give up.

To love means to die to ourselves.


Why have you chosen not to do the hard work of love?

Is it because you don’t have enough money? Or is it because you don’t want to spend your money on somebody else?

Is it because you don’t have enough time? Or is it because you don’t want to give up all your time to somebody else?

Is it because you think it is prudent to avoid the work? Or is it because you are afraid of what it might cost you?

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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One Reply

  1. Margaret

    This is so true, taking on a child is abig step and a sacrife. Most people are comfortable with someone else doing things but not them. We forget how our Lord Jesus Christ had to leave His comfort next to the Father to suffer so we could have life.
    May God help us to get over ourselfishness
    Thank you for that article on Amber

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