Dear Madeline, Ava, and Harper,
As I watch you three grow, my greatest hope is that you love and care for each other. You do it so well, even in these elementary and pre-teen years. So it is a great comfort to me to know that you girls will never be without a sister—or two—by your side, long after your father and I are gone from this world. Sisterhood is powerful.
You were probably too young to remember, but your father and I started looking at ways to live more sustainably out of a need to save money while Daddy was in seminary. Investing in cloth diapers for Ava seemed like a smart way to reduce our costs. But that developed into finding non-toxic baby and personal care products, which led to paying closer attention to eating locally grown and organic foods, and that led to researching fair trade coffee and chocolate. We started learning how our energy and water consumption affects families all over the world. And then Mommy starting working for a faith-based earth care non-profit. We learned and grew and became advocates together. Daddy and I felt that as people of faith we should be leading on creation care issues, even if the Church was a few steps behind us.
I worry that our work for the Church will create tension when you begin to grapple with your faith in the fast-approaching teenage years. Will you feel that the church took your parents’ focus away from you too often and for too long? Will you grow tired of an old institution that hasn’t always adapted well to a changing world, opting to insulate itself rather than reach outside its doors to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, and visit the sick? Will you be frustrated at a body of faithful people who preferred to argue that climate change was not real instead of making small changes to help steward our shared land, air, and water? Some of the best and worst people we have known are members of the church.
What I wish most for you girls is that the care you have shown each other would extend to the big wide world around you. That no cause is too distant, and that all people are your people. That you find sisters everywhere. That your faith would compel you to help stop inequality, injustice, war, and famine. I hope that you have learned from your father and I (and maybe even the Church) that care for creation is more important than being able to quote verses from the Bible, because though we can profess our love of God and neighbor, it is the act of caring for creation that transforms this statement to action.
I love you girls so much. I am so proud of you already, and cannot wait to watch you mature and take your place in the world. I hope that this future includes clean air and water for you and your children. And I hope that in some small way I’ve helped preserve it for you.
Love you like a frog,
Christina Krost is an elementary teacher turned mom turned pastor’s wife. She does Outreach Support for Faith in Place, a non-profit earth care organization. She is also a Be Just Be Green Jurisdiction Guide for United Methodist Women. She lives with her husband and three daughters in rural Illinois and blogs at www.5matches.com.