Stepping barefoot on a Lego in the middle of the night happens to be one.
But there are also the pains we keep silently in hearts. Sometimes we do this to shelter our kids. Sometimes it’s our pride. There are also the anxieties we carry with us like college tuition, cyber bullying, dating and driving to name a few.
For those parenting in a divorced setting there’s the pain of having to split time with your children between you and the other parent. Letting them go is not always easy. Time is often the healer and sets one on a path of acceptance. But acceptance doesn’t always eliminate the pain completely.
My life is filled with paradoxes. I could not offer a better self-assessment than the words of Brennan Manning who, in summing his own faith journey, declared: “I believe and I doubt, I hope and get discouraged, I love and I hate, I feel bad about feeling good, I feel guilty about not feeling guilty. I am trusting and suspicious. I am honest and I still play games.”1
Sundays are my paradox.
On a day that’s dedicated to the worship of my Lord, I can also be stricken with a sadness that, as mentioned above, only a parent can know. The custody I share with my former wife allows each of us to have our daughters on alternating weekends. Which means on any given Sunday I’m either dropping my daughters off at a place not my own or I’m without them altogether. And I hate it.
But in my sadness, there’s gratitude. I’m grateful that not only do my daughters believe in God, they also know Him. And how I envy their faith…for it is truly that of a child (Matt 18: 3). So it is with mixed emotions when I return home without them. A walk up the stairs and a peek in their rooms reveal little reminders of their presence and child-like innocence. An errant sock that missed the hamper. A barbie tea party taking place on the dresser. The pink, leather-bound Girls Adventure Bible with notes from last Sunday’s message. Oh, and that darn Lego.
There’s a joy and comfort that comes when my daughters return to me. Much is the same with our Heavenly Father. The love a parent has for a child is immeasurable. Greater than that, however, is the love God has for each and everyone of us. It’s a love Chesterton once described as “furious.” It’s not a fury in the common understanding of “extreme anger,” but “intense energy….enormous vitality and strength.”2
For parents and non-parents alike, in those moments of pain, anxiety, or doubt because your life is a collection of paradoxes, know there’s a love that awaits you that’s like no other love. More than a parent awaiting a child’s return, He eagerly wants you to come to Him.
1. Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel (Colorado Springs: Multnomah Books, 1990), 25. 2. Brennan Manning, The Furious Longing (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 2009), 29.