“Much-Afraid, I have already warned you that Love and Pain go together, for a time at least. If you would know Love, you must know pain too.” -The Shepherd (Hind’s Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard)
I didn’t want to love her. I wanted to harden my heart because I knew her time in my life would be brief. But somehow, when a baby comes into your life, it is almost impossible to not feel something.
I thought my heart was cold. I thought hurts of my childhood had stunted my ability to love. I didn’t think I could love anyone, I knew I didn’t want to love anyone. In the space of a year, I had lost all of my best friends to emotional or physical distance. I didn’t want new friends, and I certainly didn’t want to fall in love with a little baby, especially a baby with whose parents I had such a tenuous relationship.
I didn’t want anyone else whose absence could cause such pain.
Babies have a way of softening even the hardest of hearts. I loved her grudgingly at first. I fought with myself and tried to shut down those feelings that would make me vulnerable. But before this little one was a week old, I loved her more than life.
She is 15 months old now, and I can’t imagine my life without her. When I feel her little arms wrap around my neck, I am overwhelmed with the knowledge of the depth of my love for her. The pitter-patter of her little feet makes me laugh and cry at the same time. When she holds her little hand out to me, I love her so fiercely the love itself hurts. Watching her explore the world, seeing her learn to walk, to clap, to wave, to blow kisses… It is all so beautiful. It is all so bittersweet because I know she will not be part of my life forever.
For so long I have dreaded the day she would be gone. I have grown to love her as much as the air I breathe, and she might leave my life before she is ever old enough to say she loves me, too.
How do I trust God in something like this? I didn’t ask for this love, I fought against it. This love filled my heart against my will and now this love is wrenching me. I wanted a heart of stone, but instead I was given a heart that can feel, a heart that can break.
“…suffering is not good in itself. What is good in any painful experience is, for the sufferer, his submission to the will of God…” ― C.S. Lewis
Even though trusting God through all of this has been an unparalleled challenge, this pain has taught me to long even more for the day when “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
“O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.”