I received a powerful lesson in love a few weeks back.
For the purpose of winning our boy’s heart we have been challenged to let go some of the things I wanted to control, like food intake or doing home work. Our boy wants independence, but I know he is not ready to carry certain independence. He doesn’t always know what is best for him, that is why children have parents. I realize that in ‘normal’ families trust was built over the years and a child, to a degree, will let a parent in because there is this realization that he/she just can’t do it alone. Our boy, because of his history, likes to hold onto his independence. But I know it is my job to help and give direction: I can explain why not eating is not healthy, why sugar can be bad, why protein is important. I can also guide doing homework or teach how to study. But if that help is not necessarily wanted… I need to let go, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me feel and no matter how big the chance of him ‘messing up’ and falling.
And that is what I have been doing, letting go. And it is VERY uncomfortable. So in therapy I asked for some time for me, not our situation, not our boy but ME. I explained I was very emotional about some things and I was hurting. I explained that I was uncomfortable with our boy not eating breakfast, or even dinner at times. I was uncomfortable about the amount of sugar intake, knowing our boy has trouble staying on task in class, to the point of falling asleep. I was uncomfortable following her lead in letting go. Our therapist (who is amazing) looked at me with compassion and gentleness: “And this is called love.” “Excuse me?” I said. “This is called love Maddy. This is loving your boy. You are letting go to the point it hurts you, for the purpose of winning his heart. And you don’t put your hurt on him, you deal with it, you sit with it, you come here.” I started laughing a bit… I thought our boy smiling was a sign of love. Our boy being happy would be a sign of love. Or me feeling good would be a sign of love. And in this instant I realize pain is a sign of love.
Love hurts. For now, love hurts. And it’s not a bad thing. I realize it is too soon to see the fruits of love, but what I feel is actually a sign that I love.
And I think of Jesus. Isn’t He our great example of love? In His love, He was willing to hurt, for the sake of others. What is currently happening in our home is not easy. It is tough work. It is painful. I mentioned before that it is also an honor. I realize I have been called to love like Jesus did (we all are). And this kind of love I cannot have without Jesus. This love I cannot express without Jesus. It is exceptional. But it can be done. And it is happening in our home: a Love that is beyond myself.
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