It is the day after Christmas, barely. I find myself unable to sleep, angry, hurting, and knowing Christ calls me to forgiveness. Not just speaking the words, but feeling them in my heart. Taking responsibility, check, I did that, apologized for my quick temper and I know in my heart all is forgiven. God willing, at some point the man I raised, the prodigal son, will return again, and all the tears, hurt and pain he left behind this Christmas day will simply be forgotten, replaced by nothing more than the unconditional love that causes this momma bear to roar at everyone when he’s hurting and yes, even when he’s hurting others.
Being a parent is downright hard. Being a parent of an adult is even harder. My friends are always telling me not to be so hard on myself. Yet, as someone called to lead others, leading myself must come first. The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree, therefore when it does fall, when it is squeezed and what comes out is toxic, I must look at the tree. Was I my best today – the answer is no. I was human, in my hurt, in my pain, I lashed out just as my son did. He admitted his feelings were hurt, as insignificant as the words seemed, another family member’s words cut deep. Why? I don’t know. Why do our children hold their parents to a higher standard than they hold themselves? Again, I don’t have an answer. Why is it as mom, I’m also responsible for everything that is said under my roof? (Okay, maybe that’s not quite true; it just feels that way). But I do know, that when threatened with abandonment or worse when faced with it, especially from my children, this tree protects itself with sharp thorns, easily recognized by what my younger children affectionately refer to as the “mom roar”. And that’s it, that truly is what triggered me today; I was abandoned. Again. This timeby the very person, that simply by coming into this world, taught me to love unconditionally.
How must Christ feel? How many times do we abandon Him? Yet, He is there. Would He have lashed out angrily as I did today? Perhaps, we do see evidence of His anger as He overturns tables at the temples and when He admonishes His disciples. But more than likely, He would have listened more, been more understanding, and done more to heal the hurt his child was feeling, all the while bearing the sting of abandonment Himself. I hope that one day I can embody those qualities. I pray that in every hurt, every mistake, I can look into my own heart and change me, and that through my doing that, my children will someday do the same.
This week, today especially, as social media brings us closer and shows us a bit of what others are going through, I’m especially aware of those moments when I fail in relationship. Two friends lost their husbands both on Christmas Eve, one to a long battle with cancer, another to a car accident. A co-worker lost her 22-year old son last week to a car accident. I can’t help but know in my heart, if I experienced such a loss, that I would feel the sting of regret for things left unsaid and for things said, regardless of whether I’m being “too” hard on myself or not.
Parenting is just hard. For now, putting the thoughts that woke me at 2:30am to ink (or digital data) is the best I can do. Perhaps, someone else’s son or that someone else’s mom can heal through the scars I bear on this day.