A Parent's Love
It's an amazing feeling when they call to tell me they're thinking of me, to tell me that they miss me and I've never under appreciated their telling me they love me. I don't think we've ever disconnected a phone conversation or hugged goodbye without an 'I love you'. Having heard it for nearly 20 years has never diminished how much it means to me.
When they've called needing help, well, nothing puts a parent into action faster than their child in need. However, sometimes the best way to help a child is to let them figure something out for themselves. From the time a child is able to speak they will tell you they can do something for themselves. We all want to do things for ourselves, it's our spirit of independence. But when we fail, we reach out to those who love us for help. That's what comes natural to us. That's what we've been taught to do. How many times do we tell those we love to let us know if they need anything...'call me if you need me', 'let me know if I can do anything for you'. But sometimes being a parent...a good parent is not helping. Though we're not visible, of course, we're still there; we're never going to let a child fall short of our safety net, but a lesson learned is often more valuable than the assistance given. During those times when I've taken a step back, so that my kids can learn a lesson for themselves, I've not left them...only standing in the shadows. Though I loved them as little boys, my job is to encourage them to become men.
I began this by saying that I always love hearing from them. Whether I see their number come up on my phone, seeing an email is from them, or hearing them call my name from across a room, it doesn't matter. I will always love hearing from them, they're mine. And when they're in need, I can't rest until I know they're taken care of. I may not always help them when it's in my power to do so, but only because I'm teaching them how to help themselves...an exercise in learning their own ability, if you will. Make no mistake though, I will always catch them before they hit the ground.
I feel this way about my children. I believe, with all of my heart, that this is but an immeasurable fraction of how our Father feels about us. How pleased He is when we take a minute out of our day just to say hello, to tell Him that we love Him...to say 'thank you' for a way that He has blessed us; and yes, to even call on Him for help. I thank Him for the times He's let me learn on my own, regardless of how difficult the lesson, because I've grown in ways that I'd not thought possible. My heart has been thankful for lessons learned, for tears shed because what I've learned, I've often been able to teach, to share, and therefore be a blessing to someone else.
It breaks my heart, though, to think that so often He only hears from us when we need Him. Though I'd always want my children to call me should they need me, I can't imagine only hearing from them when they are in need. Every time I hear one of my boys say they love me, I smile...my heart can't help but swell with joy. I will get an email from Casey sending me something he thinks I might like, I'll get a call from Charlie just wanting to know what I'm doing...I love knowing that they're thinking of me. Can you imagine what our Father, whose heart is so much larger than ours that it's incomprehensible, must feel when we go to Him just to be in touch with Him, just to thank Him, to acknowledge what He's done for us...just to say 'I love You'? Even as much as I love my boys, I'll never know the depth of love that He has for us, it's not possible.
On the other side of this, of course, is the hurt I'd feel never hearing from my boys. No phone calls, no emails, no acknowledgement whatsoever. Would I love them less, I can't imagine that possible. But I can imagine the hurt, the loss...the loneliness I'd feel. Even if I were to have one with me every single day, I'd still long for the one that wasn't. I know I've distanced myself from Him on occasion, but nothing I've ever done has made Him love me less. As a parent, I understand this, but as a child, also, I know how hard it is to accept that kind of love. Yet it's there, regardless. Thankfully, it always will be. I hope my boys will always know that I love them, that I'll always be here for them to come home to and how much it means to me to hear from them. It's also a lesson to me that I am His child, and His heart longs for me just as mine longs for my children. He desires to hear from me; He longs to spend time with me. Parent or child, grown or not, thankful or in need, we're all His children and nothing can separate us from His love...a perfect love, a parent's love. I find comfort in that.