I tried really hard to listen to nature, beyond the too loud music, beyond the too loud musings of my upset.
As I walked I thought, "this is what my life feels like sometimes." So much noise. But surrounded by so much beauty. As a mother of three boys, it's easy to hear only the noise and miss the beauty. I want to shush them. But then their noise is part of their beauty.
I catch sight of a butterfly opening its wings. I think, maybe if I'm quiet enough, silence my phone, I can grab a quick picture. Funny to me now as I write these words. The butterfly probably wouldn't have noticed the little click amidst the cacophony of sound pouring out around us. How sweetly he opened his wings so I could see him.
I am thinking of my son now. Noah celebrated his birthday yesterday. He is growing quickly. It won't be long before he is taller than me. Yesterday morning he used impeccable manners. Precious please's and thank you's, never once coaxed from me. His joy in living his birth day bringing forth his own goodness to make it a good day. Like the butterfly, sweetly opening his wings so I could see the beauty of who he is.
There will come a day soon when he will test those wings out. He will fly on his own. He will want the opportunity to see what he is made of, and will do so stepping out into the world, making sure I stay at home. And I hear the clock ticking. I will have to release him into the world hoping my mamma love has given him what is needed for strong flight.
It's hard doing this parenting thing. Sometimes we hold on too tight. Sometimes we push too hard. We tug and pull in what seems like the right direction only to find out our nagging really just created a gap needing to be filled with Grace. I think of my mistakes with Noah. I am so glad in this snapshot of his life he has given me grace. It reminds me we are held by a bigger Grace.
One particular moment of grace has marked me forever. I was attending a retreat in a beautiful mountain setting. It was the summer Noah was preparing to enter kindergarten. He was so ready, yet he still struggled with one particular area at home that caused us concern. During one of our retreat sessions I was paired with an older woman. We were asked to share where we were trying to manage our lives through power over others verses the way of Jesus. I shared with this dear woman my angst of trying to help my son through his struggle. I wanted him to overcome the issue he was working on, but I also didn’t want him to feel shame and discouragement from me. With great gentleness she looked me in the eyes, searching my face, my heart. “I can tell you love this child,” she said. “You don’t need to worry. Love prevails.”
When I think of Noah, and especially of the mistakes I have made trying to be his mamma, I remember this. I love this man child. And his very existence reminds me that God loves me: Our sweet Noah, born as the answer to years of praying for children. I know that I must receive this time with him as gift. The moments we get to share are passing. And even though those moments are often noisy, they are opportunities for beauty. I can wish away their noisiness, or I can rest my heart in their beauty, and enjoy each one.
I know it's not time for him to fly away, to make his own way in the world yet. But already I can see him testing his wings. He is the sweet child Tim and I received as our first son. He is the first one we will also have to release to God's Grace. I rest in knowing that Love prevails. Our love, even in its human frailty, is enough to give him the beginning he needs. And God's Love, is more than enough to hold him while he makes his way into becoming the man God created him to be.