Sometimes the reality of the world we live in comes to our door and knocks. I used to have these terrifying nightmares where there was a ‘bad man’ trying to get into the house to hurt my kids and I was blind and unable to use my voice. I could hear the kids crying but I could do nothing to stop the man from getting in and hurting them. The dreams came after a particularly scary time when we nearly lost Joshua but the reality of the dream still manages to shake me to the core.
I know that sometimes scary, hurtful things happen. I know that I can’t protect them from everything. I know that my job is to teach them how to rise above the hurts of this world and look to a future world that is without pain, without sorrow, without fear, and yet I still wish I could create a magic bubble to surround them in until they are old enough, strong enough, wise enough to handle the problems they will face, the pain and the fear and the reality of life beyond Eden.
Last night I snuck into their room and watched them sleep, so innocent in their beds, Kaleb curled in a ball with Tiggy clutched in his little hand, his thumb planted firmly in his mouth, Josh, sprawled out and snoring softly after a long day of fun. I prayed for them and it dawned on me, that is all I can do and though the power of prayer (as evidenced in my own life and in Joshua’s journey) is strong, it still leaves me feeling powerless to really ‘help’ them when the times come.
I can come in after the fact, I can advocate for them, I can show them through actions that I mean what I say when I tell them I will do anything to keep them safe but the reality is that I can’t actually protect them from everything. I can do my best to make sure things don’t happen twice, I can step in and soothe the hurt, cuddle the fear, kiss the burdens and even pray against the inevitable pain but I can’t stop it all. I can’t make Joshua’s heart better, I can’t ensure that no child will ever hurt Kaleb again, I can’t force Joshua’s brain to heal completely, I can only pray that all this happens in time. One day a girl will hurt them, one day an adult might say something that hurts them, one day I myself may unwittingly hurt them.
Last night as I watched them I longed to stop time right in that moment, when they were safe and sound and happy in their beds. I knew that one day the love I have for them would mean that it would hurt me, that is the nature of love. You can not love without being hurt. As a parent it makes me see the love of God so much differently, how much he must ache to see us safe, protected, loved, and safe within our beds at night and yet in order for us to grow he must allow us independence, and with independence comes inevitable pain, sorrow, fear and suffering. How we must break his heart.