I became a mother for the first time in October, 1997. Even though I knew I would love my child, I was unprepared for the completeness and intensity of my love for my son. I was also unprepared for the fact that I began to see my child in the faces and lives of other children, children known to me and children not known to me. I became a better pastor and teacher when I became a mother. I recognized the triumphs and fears in the parents and children around me. They seemed very real and very familiar.
At this same time, it was also hard for me to see pictures of and read articles about children who were hurt or were starving. I knew it happened, of course, but I did not want to see evidence that children suffered so greatly. Those children were no longer abstract children to me. They were children who were someone’s greatest treasure.
My son is now eleven, and he has a brother and a sister. I now make myself read articles and books about hunger and poverty because I know that mothers whose children are hungry, love their children just as I love mine. I feel that I have to keep track of these women and their children in order to fulfill my call to preach and teach the Gospel. It is still hard. I cannot always look at the pictures, but I know that if their stories are not known and told, nothing will change. I work every day to hold on to my hope that hunger will end and that every mother’s treasured child will have enough.
The Rev. Stacy K. Johnson
Stacy Johnson, Ph.D., is an ELCA pastor and the author the new World Hunger curriculum, Taking Root: Hunger Causes, Hunger Hopes.