Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Herein is love


For years I prayed for this child. Years. When he was born, I could not be more thrilled, and overwhelmed. I'd stare at him sleeping and weep. I thought my heart would burst from how much I loved him. Scary love. Don't ever want to lose him love.

It didn't hurt that he was absolutely beautiful - strangers-stop-and-comment beautiful. Blond hair, blue eyes, perfect soft skin. Just chubby enough. Such a good baby, a funny baby, a smart baby. He did everything exactly on time - sat up, crawled, walked - as though he were reading the same baby books I was poring over. He was perfect.


Before I could blink he was a toddler into everything, and talking. Oh, he was so funny. He couldn't pronounce things the right way, and we would ask him to say certain words over and over and crack up when he did.

He was such an outgoing little boy. He would go up to any stranger and ask them questions and show him his treasures. He absolutely loved animals. Yet he loved his mommy and daddy the best, and showed us all the time with hugs and kisses and I love yous.


Even his terrible twos weren't that terrible. We often said, "He's just a great kid, that's all there is to it. He's a great kid."

He got bigger, and smarter, and funnier. Each day I loved him more than the day before.

I told him to get into the car, and to bring some snacks and books to look at because it would be a long drive. We were going somewhere special, I said. He loved having me all to himself so his face lit up. "Where we goin, Mom?" I loved how he called me Mom. Made him seem so old. "A secret. Someplace special. Just get ready." I faked a smile and raised my eyebrows and pretended to be excited.

We drove for hours. He read his books and asked me a million questions and made comments on everything he saw out the window. I didn't blow off his questions like I often would do, or ask him if we could play the quiet game. I listened and I answered and I told him stories about the day he was born, the day he rolled off the couch, the day he spilled the bottle of syrup all over the floor.


I told him so many times that I loved him, how glad I was that he was mine. How much I had wanted him, how long I had prayed for him, how blessed I felt to be his mother. By the fourth or fifth time he rolled his eyes and said, "I know Mom. You already told me that, Mom. About a million times, Mom!" I was glad he couldn't see my eyes from his seat in the back of the car.

Finally we were there. We were there. My heart dropped. I thought I might vomit but I forced myself not to.


I pulled the car over before the bridge. "Are we here?" he asked excitedly. "Yes baby, we're here." I kept my sunglasses on so he couldn't see my eyes. "Finally!!" He jumped out. "Where are we? What's that? A bridge? Whoa, it's tall! Can we go on it?"

"Yes."

"Aaaaawesome!!" He ran ahead.

I came up behind him, my heart pounding. "Mom, we're up so high! I've never been on a bridge before! Can I throw a rock down into the water? "

He threw the rock and watched it fall all the way down. It took forever to hit the river. He threw another, and another. I touched his hair, I rubbed his back. I put my nose into his hair and inhaled him, just like I used to, when he was brand new. I loved this child so much, my heart could burst.

"Hey, Momma. Can I sit on the rail?"

I bit my lip. "Yes baby."

"No way! Cool!" I helped him swing his legs over. He found a larger rock and tossed it in. I wrapped my arms tightly around his back, this back I loved, this back I had bathed, this back I had scratched to sleep. My tears came down. It was time.

I loosened my grip. I held him by his forearms. I let go of one. He turned and he looked at me, he looked in my eyes, and I gasped as I saw fear in the beautiful green eyes of this son I loved so much. "Mommy...?" Sobbing now, I loosened my grip on the other arm, still staring into his eyes. "I love you sweet boy. Oh, my God, I love you."

And then the angel said "STOP. Do not lay a hand on the boy. Do not do anything to him!!"

****

Nearly four thousand years ago, God asked Abraham to sacrifice his beloved son. But then the angel said stop.
It would not be sufficient offering.
Such a heartache would not be required of Abraham.

Nearly two thousand years ago, God sacrificed his beloved son.
That time, no one said stop.



In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
that God sent his only Son into the world,
so that we might live through him.
Herein is love,
not that we have loved God
but that he loved us
and sent his Son
to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:9-10



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