When I received my latest issue of Above Rubies I was truly looking forward to it. Everyone raved about this magazine that has been “Strengthening Families Across the World” for 32 years. It is a much anticipated event due to the sporadic publishing of the magazine. You see, AR only publishes when enough donations have come in to make a complete distribution of their full color 32 page periodical. I never really had the opportunity to read AR consistently but I had picked up an issue here and there. It was never an earth moving experience.
The entire issue seems to have a common theme running through. The pages are stuffed full of testimonials about various ailments that had been cured…yes, I said cured, through child bearing. And I don’t mean your typical child bearing. I’m speaking of the repeated and continuous Quiverful type child bearing. We aren’t talking about sciatica pain either. The ailments include panic attacks, migraines, fatigue, poor marriage, depression, chronic pain (from adhesions), nosebleeds and aging. And these aren’t just silly little clichés like “Children keep you young.” These are multi paragraph articles proposing the answer to all your problems is just having more babies. The second half of the magazine has a large spread on V-BAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) births and how successful they are.
As I perused the pages of this latest AR installment my eyes settled on an article written by Nancy Campbell’s daughter herself, Serene. There she is with her beautiful family. Everyone is smiling. They look so happy. I eagerly began reading the article written by Nancy Campbell’s own progeny. Surely, this serving should be savored morsel by morsel. After all, who else would have a better grip on how to live this Above Rubies life than someone that grew up in it?
Before I finished the first paragraph I found myself forced to go back and reread what was written. Did she really just say that due to poor plumbing this story is set during a time when she had no running water? I’m already sympathetic toward her. Wow, it’s hard to live without running water but to do so with 8 little blessings would be doubly hard. I’m already looking forward to the happy ending.
Instead I read about how this family, whose oldest child is 12, is first forced to haul water from the stock tank (after breaking the ice), then fetch water down the hill and back up again in 5 gallon buckets, survive in a freezing cold house, then suffer as smoke billowed out of the wood stove, then wear goggles to keep smoke out of their eyes, then lay on the floor while the children opened doors and windows to air out the place. Finally, to escape the smoke, they went outside in freezing weather to run laps around the house to stay warm. And poor Serene cried.