The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, a learning curve, a journey and a million other cliches that try – and fail to capture the reality. Nappies, stitches and sleepless nights, I was prepared for. What I hadn’t anticipated was the heart surgery. The fierce and painful emotion that courses, hot, through every vein. Love, I suppose. But not like I love my cats or I love books or I love mashed potatoes. Something else – primitive and frightening. I’d die for her. For my daughter. She’s mine. Yet, she’s not mine either – but a gift, on loan, already growing, already stretching away to a future I can’t control.
It frightens me, this love. It’s so much bigger than I am, than I ever expected. Wonderful and terrible and completely irresistible. Like the opposite of thirst – a fullness that cannot be contained. It demands to be given, shared, poured out. It leaks and seeps, hot and salty, from every pore. I’m on fire with it and when I look at her – when I see my daughter – I’m lost, all over again. Part of me longs for the safety of a bolted heart – but mostly I can’t breathe for loving her.
And as I pray, as I ask God to help me, help me to do this, I know I can’t. I can’t protect her. I can’t give her all the things she needs. I can’t be there, all of her life; I can’t keep her for myself – because she’s more than just mine. She belongs to Him; and as I brush her soft cheeks and watch while she sleeps, I wonder…when God looks at us, when He looks at me – is this what He sees? His children, precious beyond measure – made and then redeemed, by Him? Does He see us as I see my daughter – helpless, wriggling, hungry and needy and lost? And does His heart too, leap for joy at what He has made – whatever she does, wherever she hides. And when, tired and frustrated, she turns from Him, are His arms too, outstretched…but forever – cradling us, carrying us and catching us, even before we fall?
Thank you, Father. Thank you that you loved us First. And last. And forever.
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)