Friday, January 22, 2010

What My Son Taught Me About God

I’ve been thinking a lot about my son this past week. It’s almost twelve years since his death and yet that connection – that bond I had with him feels every bit as strong as when he was alive. I’m one-half of a mother/child relationship and sometimes the pain of that severing is still too much to bear. In the movie Men in Black, a younger man catches an older man in a moment of grief over a lost love. The younger man reminds him that “it is better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all” and with a hint of nostalgic pain still in his eyes, the older man dares him to “try it sometime.” I admit that I sometimes identify with the older man’s feeling that maybe it would have been better never to have loved than to live with the empty pain. Then I remember some of the faith-shaping lessons I’ve learned through my relationship with my son and thank God for the time I did have with my child.

I floated between atheism and agnosticism when my son was alive. My understanding of the nature of God, when I allowed myself to believe “a god” existed, was that of an uninvolved, angry, wrath-seeking being who saw me as an insect to be impulsively crushed or ignored. A year and a half after my son’s death, I handed my life over to Christ and I began to understand my Heavenly Father in a new light.

He has shown me that, as I loved my child, so he loved me to an even greater degree. I remember those first months after my son’s birth. I was drawn to the side of his crib at night just to watch him sleep, often holding my breath until he took his next breath. Then he would stir and my arms would instantly reach out to pick him up and hold him. Though I wanted to cradle him in my arms, I stood there silent waiting until he cried out. I realize now that God was standing by in my dark times, waiting for me to cry out and when I did, his arms were already around me, picking me up and comforting me.

When my son did something wrong, even as I was correcting him, I loved him completely with all of my heart and God has shown me in those memories that he loves me completely, with a perfect love, no matter the circumstances. As much as I treasured spending time with my son, listening to him tell me about his day and his thoughts – God enjoys our conversations even more. And on days like today when my heart is raw, I have a glimpse of the anguish God must have felt when sin ripped us from his presence. In Revelation 21, God promises a day when he will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain and he will live with us and we will be his people. This is the desire of God’s heart – that the Father/child relationship be fully restored and he’s already done the work to fulfill the promise.

Knowing that my loving Heavenly Father is with me right now in this dark place, that he understands and shares my pain, and will continue to comfort and heal my heart, I am confident that this sadness will eventually pass and I will know a day when there are no more tears or death or mourning or pain.
About the pictures:
"I'm Going to be a Fireman" (18 months)
Cassette Catastrophe (2-1/2 years)


inChristalone said...

Oh Maureen,
I am so sorry for the loss of your precious son! Your writing was beautiful and very touching about the Father's heart toward us.
May God comfort you sister.

Jean said...

What a preciuous gift to us to share pictures of a younger Bryan! I know how hard this time of year can be for you - know that I am praying for my best friend!!