Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Love, Forgiveness and Continuing to Give Up on "Being Right"

The whole notion that I wrote about last week of choosing to be loving over choosing to be right has, unfortunately (OK, it’s fortunate, but still terribly inconvenient) started to work its way into every compartment of my life, most recently rearing its devastatingly convicting head in interactions with my boys.

So, there is a certain amount of reflection and introspection involved with being a parent.  OK, let's be honest, being a parent lays waste to your best perceptions of yourself, completely reorganizes your priorities, and fundamentally reshapes your worldview.  Having two beautiful little boys has certainly done that for me.  They've taught me volumes in their short little lives. 

Most importantly though, they've taught me more about Love than I think I had ever learned before they came around.

Now, all I want for these two boys is for them to be loved, to know that they are loved, and to love each other and everyone else in the same way (and hopefully, to like me, and for that stage when they're teenagers when they hate their dad to be as short as possible...preferably a couple of hours...while I'm sleeping or something).  However, these wonderful intentions can be easily challenged when mom's at a dentist appointment and one is screaming in your ear while the other is peeing on your foot.  Let's just say in those moments, it's easy to lose perspective.

But Love is patient, Love is kind...it is not easily angered.


So I count to ten, but really I'm OK by about 3 or so, I unclench my jaw and I put on my best encouraging smile so that Ethan continues to see value in at least trying to get all of the pee in the toilet. Meanwhile, I squeeze the Asher the thrasher a little closer, just so he knows that I acknowledge the universal injustice of teething, and that I'm standing in solidarity with him.  And so it goes, with me doing my best as a father to let them grow in the confidence of a love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.

The real lessons, thought, come when I fail - when I'm not particularly patient or kind, when I'm provoked to anger or put my own selfish needs above theirs.  Ethan has recently learned the phrase "Mommy/Daddy, you hurt my feelings." Now, while this can be comical when he's using it as an emotionally-charged stall tactic when it's time for bed, it can be equally cutting when he's saying it from an honest place of hurt.  It's not a phrase that I ever want to hear spoken in earnest from him, with pain and hurt cracking his tiny voice and forcing tears to well up in the corners of his usually bright and cheerful eyes.  These are the moments where I get to decide what is more important: my selfish desire for some kind of catharsis, or this tiny human's heart.

It's not much of a decision, really.

But here's where the real lesson about Love comes in.  Every time, after apologies and hugs and kisses and maybe a little crying - who knows, maybe from both of us - I see firsthand what it means for Love to keep no record of wrongs, when this little guy, who hasn’t learned the meaning of words like “grudge” or “resentment” or “bitterness” says “Yes, I fowgive you, Dad” and means it in a way that is, perhaps, more Christ-like and genuine than I can even comprehend.  There’s no record because to him, there’s no more wrong, and in my heart, I’m just left hoping that someday I can re-learn what it means to forgive like he does.


  1. What a beautiful post! I especially love this: "OK, let's be honest, being a parent lays waste to your best perceptions of yourself, completely reorganizes your priorities, and fundamentally reshapes your worldview." So true and so well stated. Thank you for sharing.


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