“I don’t know what I may seem to the world, but as to myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Sir Isaac Newton
I got my feelings hurt really badly a few weeks ago. I was hurt badly enough that I felt paralyzed with grief and emotion. I didn’t want to lash out and hurt the person back and I didn’t want to run away, either of which I would’ve considered pretty normal reactions. But, you see, the person who hurt me was my own child. So lashing out and running away weren’t options. I had to figure out how to parent in the moment of grief.
Usually, as you can imagine whether you’re a parent or not, hurt feelings aren’t something I acknowledge with my children. Of course, it hurts me to see them hurting or angry or making poor decisions. But it’s not my job to consider or advertise my own hurt – it’s my job to teach and guide them. This time, though, the action taken by my child was such that I decided it was right to acknowledge my hurt. It was right to tell her how she had hurt me so that she could understand that her rash actions had consequences to the ones she loves.
Those were some of the hardest few days of my life so far as a parent. Relaying my pain just enough for her to see it then reeling it back in so that I could determine how to present the lesson. Lots of prayers went up during this time. At one point, I remember telling God I felt clueless. I had no idea how to act or how to present. It’s hard enough anytime to separate what is the rational choice for your child versus what is your own emotional reaction. Throw in this time the fact that I was intentionally letting her see my emotional reaction and it was even harder separating where to draw the line – what part of the emotional reaction was part of the rational choice and what part of it was just giving in to the inner ego.
During this particular prayer time, I heard God’s gentle voice chiding me. He pointed out that my direction during this moment wouldn’t have been so difficult for me if I had practiced more. I realized that all of God’s children deserve the same kind of self-denial from me as my girls do. I’ve been teaching my Sunday School class God’s greatest 2 commandments. Of course, the first is to love Him with all our heart and with all our soul and with all our mind and with all our strength. The second is to love our neighbor as ourselves. Not just my children but all of God’s children. Whoa - what an exhausting concept.
I’ve been trying. It’s hard and my inner toddler kicks and screams. But I’m learning there’s beauty in it. I tell my Sunday School class that God gives us these rules in life so that we will get more from life; the rules are there to help us. I see that exemplified in this latest lesson from God. Since I’ve been trying to open up and love everyone in the way that I love my children, my eyes have been opened to how many people in my life are so easy to love. I’m blessed in absolutely every area of my life and I’m more aware of these blessings than ever before.
Thank you, God, for the blessings you create from life’s pain. Please allow me to mirror Your love to all I meet not only so they will know You through me but also so that they may show You to others they meet from my example. In Jesus’s name I pray, Amen.
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:36-40