Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nameless












"He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them "Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me." Mark 9:36

If you go to certain graveyards on some nights, and listen very closely, can you hear the babies crying? Why are they crying? Is it to be fed, maybe to be changed? Perhaps none of these things, maybe they are crying for a name... Babies born in the 17th and 18th century did not fare very well. One out of every four babies died. It did not matter if the family was rich or poor. One in four. Babies were not encouraged to walk early, since there was no childproofing equipment, and walking made their lives even more dangerous. Many frontier moms would allow their babies to be burned slightly from the fire to discourage a more serious burn later. Because of the high infant mortality, many mothers would not name their babies for a long time, hoping that not having a name would lessen the maternal bond, thus causing them less grief if the baby died. So there are many headstones from that era that only say "Infant Baby". But stop and listen even more closely now. It is not the babies crying at all, only the wind in the trees. This is because these babies really had a name all along. God gave them a name and called them as his. And he knows each and every one of them. No one needs to cry for these babies, because they have avoided much pain and are with the most loving Father there is. Now that the wind has died down, can you hear them laughing?

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast andd have no compassion on the child she has born? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..." Isaiah 49:15

33 comments:

Karin said...

Those are the same thoughts I've always had when visiting a cemetery and seeing grave markers of children with no name! -- I worked in the Pathology Department of a Children's Hospital when I was only 18. I've seen babies die and then autopsies done on them. I cried that their families would miss them terribly, but I KNEW that someday I would see every one of these precious infants in eternity - playing around the Father's throne.

Arti said...

Thats a very touching post, really heart warming..
I have never been in a cemetary though, it must be pretty scary in the night in there!!

Kilauea Poetry said...

Ginny I loved this!! So wise and true! I found this really sad yet uplifting! Graveyards have always been intriguing to me anyway. I enjoyed the way you put this together..very touching indeed!

Ann said...

Thanks Ginny,

They tell us there is no accident that certain thing happen. God had arranged for you to be my cyber sister in Christ, Went to church this morning, and the topic was Suffering

Annie said...

By turns, heart-rending, compelling, and loving. A tender history lesson, Ginny.

reanaclaire said...

oh that is sad.. just like in China those days, families did not like baby girls bec the govt has given them only 1 child per family and some resort to killing the baby girls so that they could have a chance to give birth to a baby boy the next time... sad..
but God is merciful, He loves the children and welcome them to His kingdom of heaven...

SquirrelQueen said...

This is a very sad but touching post Ginny. When visiting older cemeteries it is always sad to see the infant grave markers, some with names but most just "infant of". We walked through a really old one several years ago and saw the graves of about fifteen very young children that had died within a week of each other during a smallpox epidemic.

Fred Alton said...

Thanks for this post Ginny. I have noticed the large number of stones in graveyards where I've been which are labeled "Infant Son of..." or "Infant Daughter of...". I don't think I realized that parents would deliberately not name the child with hopes it would make their pain easier. Very educational for me.

DawnTreader said...

I don't think I've ever noticed that here, headstones without names. Maybe our traditions were different. We did have a state church practising infant baptism and official records were kept in each parish which required a name etc. There were also "emergency baptisms" when people feared that an infant was dying. I do suppose just as many little children must have died here. But maybe some didn't even get a headstone at all?

Jane said...

There is one very old cemetary in town and it has a section devoted to babies. As your post indicates, many of the tombstones lack names. Hope your weekend is going well,

Jane

sm said...

touching post with great pics

kanak7 said...

I love the way you put down your thoughts. I've never thought about nameless babies while passing by cemeteries (not very often). This post will certainly make me think of the way you said it the next time I'm near any cemetery.

S. Etole said...

I hadn't realized that ... how wonderful we have a God who calls us by name.

Sandra said...

as i scrolled through the photos, the truck brought tears to my eyes, afer reading your post, they are streaming down my face. all those sweet little babies went home to be held by Jesus the moment they died, the tears of grief were for the empty spot left in the mothers lives because Jesus wiped the babies tears from their eyes.
about the burning when youn. my dad's brother fell in the fireplace in 1914 in rural georgia. his right hand went out to catch his fall and he was jerked imediatley from the fire. they slathered grease on it (the worst thing they could have done) and bound it with material tightly, left it that way until it healed. as a result, his fingers grew together with webs, causing him to live for 93 years with a hand that only could use thumb and pinky.

wildlifewatcher said...

Good sensitive pot today Ginny. Happy Halloween!

Mildred said...

A lovely and uplifting post Ginny. Blessings to you and Phil today.

Two of Us said...

Lovely post, Ginny.

One of my earliest memories _ might have been four or five - I was walking with my grandfather in a cemetery. There were pictures on the gravestones (often are in Europe) and I noticed that one was a child, a little girl. For some reason that surprised me, even though I don't thik I had any clear idea of what "dead" or "dying" meant.

Stephanie V said...

Those tiny markers from long ago are the most touching. Wee lambs and angels, all.

Re our wildlife sanctuary - it takes about 10 minutes to drive there. We were that close to the deer - I could have touched him. And my partner took the photo.

Remington said...

Beautiful post, my friend....

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

Very touching and interesting post.

Darryl and Ruth : )

Leovi said...

Today your photos and your words fill me with emotion. Greetings.

sarah said...

oh Ginny...this really really touched me. You are their voice. I never knew any of this....and putting it in the perspective you do...takes away the sadness. Each life....so special.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Ginny, It's always sad to visit old cemeteries and see how many children had died either at birth or soon after.... I didn't know about them not naming children though--for that reason. Interesting --but SAD.

Hope you are having a good Halloween.
Hugs,
Betsy

Melanie said...

I can't imagine how horrible it must be to lose a child.
I hope these families found comfort in knowing their little ones were safe in the arms of Jesus.

George said...

When we visited some church graveyards in Cades Cove, it wasn't uncommon to see the graves of four or five youngsters from the same family. It was really very sad.

Glenda said...

"No child left behind" - or unknown or forgotten in God's eyes! The Scripture been a very special one to me during difficult times in my life.

Rachel Cotterill said...

I feel sad for the parents who were so afraid of their own grief, that they didn't even name their children.

♥ helen said...

Hi, I am Helen from Norway. I love the name of your blog: "Let your light shine".
I wish you a happy new week.

Kerrie said...

Our first two babies died after full term pregnancies. Our first, Beth, I got to see as she lived for 24 hours and the boy, William Joseph died immediately after birth. I have never forgotten them and I mark their birthdays on the calendar. I feel strongly that if I die and go to heaven, someone will bring them to me and say, these are your children...... So I will never be afraid to die. But I never got over missing them and loving them here on earth. A friend that lives in our hometown puts flowers on their stones every Memorial Day, she is an Angel for us as we are not there. hugs, k

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

It was so sad in earlier days when infant and child mortality was so high! Very touching post, Ginny

Kerrie said...

Ginny, our church back home in Auburn NY was United Church of Auburn , an American Baptist Church that united with Disciples of Christ Church. and we attend one here that is non-denominational but the minister is Baptist.Everyone is welcome.

Karen said...

Beautiful thoughts, especially poignant for me. We lost our precious grandson 2 years ago. He was a beautiful, happy, healthy 14 month old toddler who passed away in his sleep, in our home. Autopsy revealed no cause. We are separated only for a little while, but then we will be together again. What peace this knowledge gives us!

Chatty Crone said...

Ginny I didn't know all those facts about children back in those days. How incredibly interesting.

But I know your right - whether they had an earthly name or not - God knew them.

Sandie with Love.