Updated: Feb 14, 2022
He's just using you as a pacifier.
I hear her words, an accusation almost, though she's only repeating the tired old mother-advice trope that has resounded in our modern culture for decades. It betrays the misunderstanding of or even prejudice against breastfeeding often found from the same. Nerdy appreciator of etymology I am, my mind immediately works through the statement. Pacifier: one who pacifies.
Pacify: to create or bring peace.
And I'm left to wonder, where's the problem?
You don't want him using you as a pacifier, do you?
A pacifier. Something or someone who brings peace.
Well...yeah. I kinda do.
My child is scared, lonely, agitated, overstimulated, or hurt and I can easily give him peace by offering him a part of me or by merely being present. Yes. Yes, I do want that.
I don't think I'm really the most peaceful of people by nature. Not by a long shot. (My husband is stifling the guffaws.) But I want to be. And with this simple thing I can be a bringer of peace. I can train myself to be that bringer of peace. "Blessed are the peacemakers...the pacifiers...for they shall be called sons of God." Matthew 5:9 Yes. I'll do it. The world is a wonderful place but it can also be a big and scary and violent place. With this simple little act I can bring a tiny bit of peace to our little corner of it. Comfort the mind and heart and body of one of His little ones. By offering a part of me I can in some small way prepare and ease this little soul into that big and dangerous world. In offering that gift, I can maybe even teach my children that each one of us is called in some way to be a pacifier, a bringer of peace to a troubled and anxious world.
Oh, it's tiny, I know. I'm sure some will say I'm making a stretch. But the little acts of motherhood are important. Do small things with love, a little nun in Calcutta once said, and we say we believe it. Then there are no acts of love too small. I can bring peace with my spirit and words and I have the opportunity to do so with my very body. With this small act of bodily love I can in a very tiny way be as Him.
"Peace I leave you. My peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you." John 14:27 Our culture is weird about the body. Worship it, shame it, abuse it, enslave yourself to it. But don't receive it. Don't gift it or use it the way it was designed. We aren't repulsed by the use of a plastic pacifier but if the baby needs to be soothed and mom puts the baby to her breast, that's seen as giving in, as setting them up to "use" you, as a hindrance to freedom and independence. Some even think it repulsive. This disordered fallen culture takes something beautiful and giftable and twists it into something gross, an offensive habit to break, replaced by a mass-produced synthetic piece of silicone. It's interesting to note that in other cultures, a pacifier is called a "dummy," noting it as a fill-in for the original soother. It is hard, this gift of self each one of us is called to learn. I fail daily, perhaps hourly. I have so much more work to do and ways to learn it. But this is one way that I can. And, of course, there are certainly times when I need others to be the peace giver in their own God-ordained way. There are times when for both our sakes it is better to help this little one learn gradually and gently how to be soothed in other ways, too. But I won't cringe when I am called to be the one. Or at least, I'll try not to. I'll see the beauty and the opportunity and I'll do my best to give generously.
I am not called out at the moment to do spectacular things to help bring peace to this world that seems crazier by the week. I can donate and pray. I can fast and raise awareness in my own little community. But I cannot change the minds or hearts or actions of masses. I cannot do much tangibly right now to help when the world feels like it is crumbling with division, when it feels like the violence far outweighs the peace.
What I can do is be a peacemaker here in this little domestic church He's given me. I can offer this tiny little gift to a little one in His name and maybe in that moment...maybe that is doing the one small thing I can do to be peace a world that desperately needs it. Maybe anyway.
So yes, I'll be a pacifier. When I can, God and me willing, I'll choose to bring peace.