As a wife and mother of a young child with a busy life of work, family, school, and community commitments, I find myself still asking, “How can I say I’m responding to the call for justice so requested by our Loving God when I feel I’m mired in the minutia of toddlerhood and unclean house gutters?!” I was in a lucky minority prior to having a family—my work was justice oriented. It required an attention to and investigation of such matters as poverty, violence, and racism. But now, I struggle to find ways of integrating my previous experiences of volunteering, witnessing and protesting into the radical challenges of parenting which are simultaneously exhausting and exhilarating.
The Ignatian Solidarity Network is most often present to young adults from high school and college… but then what happens? While many of us first encountered the ISN at the Ignatian Family Teach-In in Georgia, or at a Leadership Summit, or through the web, we have now grown up, secured employment and entered family life. We’re still committed to a ‘Faith that Does Justice’, but we’re struggling with a practical image of what that looks like in the ‘real world’ of spouses and children. I believe that while Micah 6:8 states it plain, “And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?,” living this out is quite another thing entirely.
I am convinced that justice and family life can go hand-in-hand. However, in my opinion, the scale becomes much smaller, i.e., paying a regular nanny for vacation time or health benefits, or focused daily on a more local level, such as taking the time to explain something to a toddler who is crying and upset. In the next several months, let us take the time to open our minds and hearts to sharing ideas and pouring forth encouragement to one another as we look to strengthen the Ignatian Solidarity Network with justice… family style.
Carrie Nantais, M.Div., MA, currently lives in Detroit, MI with her husband, David, and two sons, Liam (age 6) and Theo (age 3). She is completing her PhD in Clinical Psychology in May, 2017. Her areas of interest include: integration of spirituality and psychology, forgiveness, trauma and resiliency and women’s health issues. When she takes care of herself, she enjoys yoga, being creative, singing loudly in the car and laughing with her family.