First of all, let me say that I love being a parent. In fact, one of my greatest joys in life is being a dad. You get to see to life though a whole new set of eyes and it is absolutely amazing. All of a sudden I am amazed at how an airplane works and amused by certain bodily functions (I think that was already the case). It is truly one of life’s greatest rewards, but sometimes it is also one of life’s greatest pains. Sometimes you feel inadequate as a parent. Sometimes you are disappointed in how your child reacts to a situation or by words they use towards you and you find your heart aching a bit. This is the side of being a parent that I don’t always enjoy, but I realize is part of the puzzle. In his book, Lament for a Son, Nicholas Wolterstorff writes, “…suffering is down at the center of things, deep down where the meaning is. Suffering is the meaning of our world. For Love is the meaning. And Love suffers.”
He wrote this statement approximately one year after the death of his son from a mountain climbing accident. I am not sure I would have been so profound. I find myself sometimes suffering through the little things my son does. Maybe when he says something hateful or misbehaves and I react poorly. But even through that, I can’t imagine losing him. In life our job is simple; it is to love always. We are especially called to this task in the case of our children. And to love always means that at times we will suffer as well. We will suffer the mistakes they make. We will suffer when they experience loss. We will suffer. And maybe that is a touch of what it means to be made in the image of our creator. A creator who gives us freewill only to suffer on our behalf the mistakes and shortcomings that have come to characterize human history.
I love being a dad…because maybe, for some reason, it helps me to understand our Heavenly Father a little bit more.