I grew up placing a high premium on common sense, even if I wasn’t always sure what it was. I remember overhearing my mother and grandmother, both admirably commonsensical people, shake their heads regretfully and say of someone or other, “That poor girl just doesn’t have any common sense.” It seemed clear that someone without common sense was crippled, doomed to eke out an inferior existence as best she could. Whatever common sense was, I hoped that I’d been granted a measure of it, or that at the least I could somehow grow into it, or beg, borrow, or buy some. I certainly never wanted to be on the receiving end of that pitying headshake.
One of the hardest things about the CSPP life in our culture today, even (alas!) in our church culture, is that it looks like a self-imposed martyrdom. It just seems so…un-commonsensical. Can’t quite see how you’ll afford music lessons and education (to say nothing of diapers and nutrition) for all those kids? Want to make a reasonable budget that includes getting back to work once the kids are all in school? Going crazy with all those kids in the house? Get sick (physically/emotionally) every time you’re pregnant or postpartum? Well, show a little common sense already! Choose a reasonable quitting point and be Done having babies! [Cue pitying headshakes of rational, commonsensical people…]
Even worse: so insidious and pervasive is the choice-mindset, that CSPP sometimes feels like a self-imposed martyrdom, even to those of us who ought to know better. Tell me again, why am I having all these kids?! Why are we choosing to make ourselves crazy like this, and what right have I even to groan under the cross of my vocation, when I could stop the seeming madness by any one of the various methods so glibly recommended by nearly everyone of my acquaintance?
Thankfully, the common sense that my familial matriarchs endeavored to pass along to me is extra-ordinary. Having a devout, commonsensical mother and grandmother helped me to see beyond what seems normal and obvious: sometimes, for those of us who are trying (fumbling along as we may be) to walk by faith and not by sight, common sense is anything but common. Being CSPP doesn’t make financial sense. It doesn’t make physical or emotional sense. To most people (including me in the darker moments), it makes no sense whatsoever. But! Submitting to God’s plan for marriage and children does make eternal sense, and in the End, the foolishness to the eyes of the world will be revealed as the most marvelously, magically rational sense that it actually, already is.