Why is it that sometimes it takes a trial, illness, or loss for us to see our blessings?
Perhaps experiencing loss opens our eyes to the entirety of our blessings. That’s what happened to me.
Last month, I temporarily lost my son; for about 15 minutes I didn’t know where he was. We were visiting the church I attended as a child. Waylon, my tenacious 2 year old was elated when he saw all of the children playing together after the service was over. My intuition told me to keep an even more attentive eye on him since we were in a new place and he was overly excited. I stopped to say hello to someone and then he bolted down the hall. I wasn’t too far behind when he turned a corner and was gone. I turned the next corner and the next to still see no sign of him. I hurried to the parking lots to see if he had strayed that far, but he was no where in sight. My heart rate quickened and panic set in. I retraced my steps and started asking others if they had seen my son, but no one had. Major panic took over my body at this point and I froze. I didn’t want to go to the street to find my worst fear and I collapsed in the breezeway of the church. A friend held me while I cried and screamed out for my son while everyone started searching for him. While others where searching and asking for the whereabouts of Waylon, someone got word that a man picked him up and took him. 911 was called and I lost my mind. A level of pain, despair, fear, and confusion came over me during this moment that I didn’t know existed and had never experienced before. Physically I saw stars and lost all breath but mental and emotionally I couldn’t imagine the next few moments (let alone my entire life) thinking that someone had taken my son. I couldn’t comprehend what I would do or who I would be without him.
About 5 minutes after hearing that horrific news and thinking that he was taken, someone saw his little shoes peek out from behind the door of a copy room. He had turned that first corner and like a ninja ran into the copy room and shut the door which locked automatically. When I heard they found him I couldn’t even stand so I crawled with everything left in me to that door and embraced my son with streaming tears.
Never have I felt such relief and yet still so much pain at the thought of the alternative. I grieve for the parents that don’t have this outcome. The only way to describe the sense of loss I felt for minutes is to say that I felt like life left my body, mobility was out of the question, and my heart felt void and massively heavy all at the same time. Waylon was pretty unphased at this major event in his mother’s life and picked up playing where he left off. I on the other hand will never forget this day.
I have to be honest, my son has never looked more beautiful than he did that day I thought he was gone and I have never loved him more. I know most people think the day your child is born is the best day of your life and that you never know how you could love anything more. My experience has been different. I loved my son instantly the day he was born, but I was a new moher with fears and anxieties that coexisted with this new love.
As I’ve gotten to know this little person, I’ve learned his quirks, his faces, his sense of humor, his sensitivities, his laugh and his cries-all of which now make up a huge section of my heart like 99.9% of it!
That day I unplugged from all my other cares, worries, insecurities and I was a fully present mother. In the afternoon I sat with him in the sand and soaked up all the images of him that I could: the sun hitting his face, the golden flecks in his hair, his coy smile, and how happy he was to have me sit with him while he dug in the sand. No phone, no camera no other cares; just me and him. I saw my son, his worth, his blessing, and our connection to each other more clearly than ever before. It’s pretty impossible to be that fully present all the time but I am certainly going to practice this kind of presence more for my son and myself. I tasted the price of great love and felt a connection to my son and God more than ever before.
As a Christian I know the price of great love is that God sent his son to die so I could live. His love is so great for me He continues to love me with an undying love even when I ignore my need for Him. The price of great love is that you would give your life for that love. Not only do I know this love, I feel it. God’s love for me-his daughter, is that all gut-wrenching, ugly-cry, snot and tears streaming down your face, unfathomable kind of love. I can try to compare it to the love I feel for my son, but I know that still pales in the light of love from a perfect and unconditionally loving God.