24 August, 2010

Beautiful Boy



But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
Luke 15

I have recently finished reading the book, Beautiful Boy by David Sheff. It's a book of a father's love, loss, and struggle to reclaim his troubled son. As I read it, the words were often difficult but always compelling as the father, over several years, pursued his son in love. It's a love story.
Over the last several months many of our friends have spoken to us about their sons. Sons who are home from Iraq, sons who have shipped out to Afghanistan, sons who excel academically and received college scholarships, sons who play football, sons who drive big trucks, sons away at college...all our beautiful boys. One friend has just taken her beautiful boy to college and he is the last child to leave home. She and I have talked about what it will be like in their home now that all their kids are gone. A part of her heart seems to be spread across the globe with each of her children. I feel she is thrilled with their success but also struggling with their leaving. I've learned slowly that the heart of parents burn ever brightly for their children, ever hopeful.

I, too, have a beautiful boy. He'll be 21 on September 7 and I wonder how in the world that could be possible. My beautiful boy. In my minds eye, I still see his dirty sneakers and smell that little boy smell. He captured our hearts the second he was born. This year my beautiful boy has struggled, stumbled and fallen...And he's figuratively come home bedraggled and wounded. Yet I have seen the Father God run off the porch to meet this beautiful boy. I have witnessed His unbelievable love and unconditional love.
When our children struggle there is pain straight to our hearts. Their pain becomes an extension into our hearts. We literally 'take-on' their pain, don't we? I can feel their joys and their sorrows in the deepest part of my heart. I ache as they ache. I'm joyful when they are joyful.

The heart of parenting has led me to think about the Father's love for each of us. Our pain, as His children, becomes an extension into His heart. He literally 'takes-on' our pain. He feels our sorrow, He feels our joy. His complete care and concern overwhelms me today. If we love our children with such passion just imagine God's love for each of us. He must whisper our names....Oh, beautiful girl. Oh, beautiful boy....I'm so glad you're home.