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Children, a gift from God

Posted by MDViews on January 29, 2005

My wife of thirty two years and I have four children. They are a blessing to us…well, OK, they are more than a blessing to us. They are…well, let me try to explain.

Since so many books, articles, blogs, conversations and interactions are written and spoken about children, it seems that anything I would write or share would be a useless redundancy. And it is redundant, I’m sure. But you know, that’s how it is with most things in life that are really important. How many love songs are there? Has the topic been exhausted? How many times have you heard the Christmas story or the Easter story? Just when you think that you’ve explored every angle to the Easter story, here comes Mel Gibson and The Passion of the Christ. What about marriage? Has the story of the best marriage been told? I’m sure not. How many movies have been made about love, sacrifice, honor, bravery and daring? And they are still being made.

So that’s why I think its appropriate to share my thoughts about children, particularly my children. I hope you find them worthwhile.

My first thought of the meaning of fatherhood and parenthood exploded in my brain the first time I held our oldest son, Nathan, and looked into his face. I saw his delicate features and watched his somewhat irregular breathing. He had been born prematurely and struggled with his breathing. He was hospitalized for about a month before we could bring him home. As I held him, I felt an emotion that is so difficult to put into words. At that moment, I bonded to him. In a split second, I clearly felt the magnitude of my responsibility and could see the path I would take for the rest of my life. In that moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of love for him. It just washed over me and surrounded me in a way that I had never before experienced. I experience an overwhelming desire to do whatever it would take to protect his little life and give him a start on his life’s journey. It was like God, at that moment, gave me a glimpse of true love. And it was much different from romantic love. It was a dedication, a strength that I felt well up inside, a feeling that I knew at that moment was permanent, lasting and forever. I knew that no matter what happened over the next months and years and decades and lifetime, that I would never be able to escape that love. It held me and became part of me and became part of who I would be from then on.

I felt that way with each of our children.

Sometimes I try to explain to couples pregnant for the first time just what they may experience when they finally meet their child. I relay to them the emotions I experienced. They usually have a somewhat blank, polite look, like I must be a little crazy after delivering babies all these years. But later, when they return after the baby is born, they generally understand. I always add that once you have children of your own, you will know why people with children always talk about their children. You can’t help it!

I read a story last year about a pontoon plane that went sank in an Alaskan bay. I don’t remember all the details, but it went something like this. Of the people on board, there was a father and a young teen son. There was a tide going out to sea, so making it to shore was a difficult swim and the teen was not a good swimmer. The father could have saved himself and made it to shore with the rest, but stayed with his son, trying to help him to shore. They lost the battle with the tide. It carried them further and further from shore. Neither survived. They died together. If I were to guess, I would imagine that the father used his last ounce of strength and effort to keep his son’s head above water.

That makes perfect sense to me.

How could a father do anything else? Could a father let his child perish? When I think of my own children and picture them in harms way, I have no doubt that I would do whatever I could to save them from danger. When I look deep into my soul, I like to think I could make a similar sacrifice for a stranger, but I’m just not completely sure. Probably all men, myself included, like to think that we would be brave, bold, and self-sacrificing if in a dangerous situation and would rise to the occasion, but I’ve never been tested like that where my physical life was on the line. Maybe I would, maybe I wouldn’t. But for my children…I would. I have no doubt.

This love that we feel for our children comes from God, I am sure. He put it there. He made us to feel that bond. He designed we men to experience that desire to protect and provide for that little life gifted to us. He designed women with a different desire, but one no less strong or powerful. Women are gifted with, I believe, the desire and need to conceive, carry and give birth to life, and also the desire to nurture and provide care after a baby is born. I see it every day in my practice. It is beautiful thing.

Thank you, God, for this gift. Thank you that each time a child enters this world, you provide these feelings and emotions to new parents. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of what real love must be like, even though our sin may dim its splendor. Thank you for the gift of children.

One Response to “Children, a gift from God”

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