"We became gentle in the midst of you, as when a nursing mother
her own children. So, having a tender affection for you, we were well pleased
to impart to you, not only the good news of God, but also our own souls,
because you became beloved to us."
— 1 Thessalonians 2:7,8
As newborn infants, form a longing for the unadulterated milk belonging to the word, that through it you may grow to salvation, provided you have tasted that the Lord is kind." — 1 Peter 2:2,3
God has bestowed upon women and their babies a most beautiful gift, a sublime privilege, and a wonderful experience of tender affection I will cherish forever.
A peasant woman, on her way home from the market, pauses to see to the
the emotional needs of her child. She sits on a wicker bench, one foot placed on an overflowing burlap bag filled with the corn she's carrying home. Her leg thus elevated supports her arm and the baby. For now, they are the only two people in the world.
For thousands of years, breastfeeding has been an open, ordinary part of everyday living, not a taboo activitity hidden behind closed doors, in bathrooms, dark corners, or under blankets and secretive clothing. Even now, women all around the world have no qualms about stopping right when and where they are to nurse their babies, no matter what their surroundings, even in many so-called "industrialized" nations and cultures.
Breastfeeding also is such a deep and tender expression of self-sacrificing love, Christ's Apostles readily used this powerful image in their inspired letters to reach all the hearts in the early Christian congregations-- of men, women, and children. If not yet parents, all had at least watched their mothers nurse their younger siblings, their aunts breastfeed their cousins, and their neighbors nurse their playmates. Some of them may have even remembered being breastfed by their own mothers.
What the Bible writers were referring to was a commonplace, but warmly emotional vitally human experience. It is ever so heart-warming to know that the God I worship, in whose image I too, as a woman, am made, has these same, tender, even feminine, qualities and feelings himself. How else could he have created such a precious arrangement in the first place?
It was with these thoughts in mind, that I fell in love with this Capodimonte piece when I was nursing my own little one, Kristin, which I did for a good long time. It is significant to me, therefore, that this baby is definitely a toddler with arms and legs all over the place. How true to life this statue is.
I bought this 10" tall statue from a little shop on Main Street in Babylon Village for $190. A good decade later, I saw a much smaller version of the same statue for much more than that. I sometimes wonder out of curiosity how much it's worth now, though I would never part with it voluntarily.
Large on black is even better.
See this photograph on Utata's project page.
This photograph finally made it to Explore #182 on August 18, 2007 !!
Interested in acquiring a print of this photograph? Then please see my profile.