I put a great deal of power in words. As a result, when I read over cards, I can be reading one which I think is perfect and then I come across one little seemingly insignificant word in it and I think "Well, this person was never that to me" or "That's not them at all" and I end up putting the card back and searching some more.
Parents aren't perfect. Some, from the child's perspective are downright lousy. Some worse than that. We can be too critical of our kids. We can try to force them to be what we wanted to be. We can be too pre-occupied with the other things of our lives -- sometimes jobs, sometimes hobbies, sometimes addictions. Sometimes we simply can't even figure out how to love our children in healthy ways. Sometimes the weight of our own lives is too much for us to bring anyone else in.
But, as a dad, I can assure everyone of one thing. Regardless of the lives we lead, that bond that a parent feels for their child is there and it is incredibly strong. It is after all modeled after the love that our heavenly Father feels for us.
I believe that, because of that bond, given what they have to work with, every parent does the best they can. One could wonder then, if the bond is there, why do parents sometimes let go? And we all sometimes let go ... whether for a lifetime, a few years, a few months or weeks or even an hour. We all sometimes let go.
But in the midst of that, even in the most extreme cases of letting go for a lifetime, even cutting themselves off from the child they love, there is a still a parent who, a couple of times a year, is pulling out the faded and worn photograph of the baby they once knew ... and wondering how things went so awry ... wondering why, in order to hopefully give their child a better future than they could give them, they had to walk away.
That is the bond that I believe all parents feel for their children.
It's a lousy analogy but Jesus felt abandoned by His father on the cross. He cried out ... but ultimately He knew that the future assigned to Him by His father was inevitable.
And so He went into the future. God didn't mess up but we earthly parents do. And as children of parents who also messed up, we have to go into the future ... knowing that our parents did the best they could with the hand life dealt them ... and knowing that we're going to mess up, too. It may be for a lifetime or for an hour ... but we're going to mess up.
But the bond is there ... Just as God holds it for us, we feel it intensely for our kids ... our parents -- regardless of how we can look at them and think "Why didn't they do this?" or "Why did they do that?" -- felt it for us ... and ultimately, even though it may not look like it or feel like it to our kids, we all do the best we can ... because we love them.
I do not mean to shortchange the life-altering pain that parents can inflict on children. I believe we've all been there. But ultimately they felt that love and that bond for us ... they just didn't have the ability to always cope with nor live into it in the best possible ways. We're no different.