Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Well there he is. My beautiful, wonderful, amazing, precious, extraordinary four year old son. Isn't he handsome? I know you're thinking "yes". When Lorenzo came to our home he was about 18 months old. Let's just say my wife and I were on a serious learning curve. One time, in our rather large and deep bathtub, I accidentally let him slip under the water. He came up gasping for air and crying like I'd stapled his fingers together. In the words of Rick Perry...oops. Another time, I thought it would be really cool for the "boys" to sit at the table and eat chips and dip together. It was really cool until he started gagging on a Nacho Cheese Dorito. Guess you're not supposed to give Doritos to a one year old. Oops. One lazy afternoon in the Frio River we were enjoying the gentle rapids when I accidentally let him slip out of my hands. I helplessly watched while he floated backwards towards a sharp edged rock. After floating down all alone, scraping his shoulder on the rocks, and then realizing that his dad was desperately trying to reach him with panic written all over his face, he proceeded to wail as if I'd brought my stapler with me again. I could continue this confession but I won't. Suffice it to say that I've made my share of mistakes. This is where I insert "we all have" in order to make myself feel better about it all. Doesn't every parent come close to drowning their son in the bathtub? They don't? Thanks.
After every mistake I get something very special. After the tears and the plea for a bandaid (he obsesses over bandaids), I get love. He's never rebuked me for any of it. He's never told me that I'll forever go unforgiven. He's never said, "dad, how can you get angry at me for not drinking my milk because, after all, you did let me go that day in the Frio". My son loves me unconditionally. He always has. I could hang him upside down from the ceiling fan for an entire afternoon. He won't like it. He'll cry. He'll get angry. And at the end of the day we will lay down in bed together and I will read him "Doctor Ted". We'll say our prayers. And then he'll kiss me on the cheek and tell me that he loves me like nothing ever happened. Unconditional love. This will not last forever. There will come a time when he will hold grudges. He will recall things I've done in order to get back at me. God forbid the day he says "I hate you" or "I don't love you" or worse yet "you don't love me". Unconditional will become conditional. When we have a bad day I will offer to tuck him in just like a do now. He'll tell me to leave him alone and slam his door. He'll get his IPHONE out and Facebook something about how his dad is a big fat looser. He'll Tweet his friends that dad is #verywierd. I'll survive by recalling the days of Doctor Ted.
The world we live in conditions us to loose our sense of unconditional love. We cannot trust everyone and we learn that every person we meet does not have our best interest at heart. We question people's motives, sometimes rightly so. We remember the wrongs and we wait for the chance for a little payback when the situation calls for it. We can dredge up things that happened years ago in order to make ourselves feel better and someone else feel worse. My four year old has not learned this trick just yet. He will. The world will teach him that. Once he does, he will have a very hard time loving without condition ever again.
Thank goodness that God loves us like that...unconditionally. Past offenses can be forgotten. No grudges. God doesn't look down on some fantastic thing we've done and think, "that's really good and all but it doesn't make up for the night you burned your report card in the kitchen trash can...tithe your income for another year and then we'll talk". It doesn't work like that. Grace means grace. Unconditional means unconditional. We might get angry with God. We might question his motives. We might think that God has let go of us just when the rocks are getting sharp. We might feel unworthy of God's love. We might begin to believe what comes from the pulpits of our childhood when the preacher told us how depraved, broken, awful, sinful, and unworthy of even an ounce of the love we get. Doesn't work like that either. Child of God, you (we) are worthy. God went through a lot of trouble to arrange this whole "salvation" thing. We must have been worth the trouble. No mistake, no sin, nothing in the universe can separate us from the love of God. Remember, only one person in the universe knows you better than anyone else. Every action, thought, and motivation. And yet that "person" loves you without condition. It really is unconditional. Without God's unconditional love we have no hope. None. So believe it. Your life depends on it. Literally.
Time for chips and dip with my son...we'll do it the way we always do it. We lodge them in the light socket and use our teeth to get them out while standing barefoot in a puddle of water. Only when mom's not home of course. Oh, you don't do that? Oops.
Don't call CPS...it's a joke. And don't call mom. Please.