Is it okay to use another’s blog post to prompt one’s own? I sure hope so Shane, because your blogs are always so inspiring, and they usually capture some essence of what I am feeling in my own life/mind.
Like this one: The Birth of Life…To the Full!
I love how he talks about being so overjoyed with life; most especially after the mere act of placing his sleeping babe in her crib, and gazing upon his other little snoozing son.
My parents always told me growing up that “you’ll know” when it comes to the love of a child.
“You’ll know someday when you have your own. You’ll know what it feels like.”
And now I do know, and it is incredible. The love I have for my son is so overwhelming, it is almost too much to describe.
It’s just as Shane said: It’s in a moment. You get caught up in the silliest of things: a sneeze, a quick smile when I go to pick him up from his nap, the way he reaches out for my face to touch it and try to understand it. Sometimes when I am holding him it feels that suddenly I am going to explode with laughter. Nothing is funny. Nothing actually happened to spark this emotion. It is, as Shane says, pure joy. I am so happy I want to laugh.
In those moments my mind always wraps around how completely good God is to us. He gave us the family. He gave us people to share our lives with. People who are our own. People to share in a love that is unique and unified.
Family is so intricately woven into the fabric of our being that we need each other to feel this kind of joy. It is an extending outward towards another that is the deepest kind of love (charity), and family is the unique unit which always turns back and reciprocates that love.
I read recently this woman describing how much she hated that people had kids to “fulfill” something within themselves. In fact, she gave 10 reasons why she wasn’t having kids, the top 2 reasons being: “I love my husband too much to share,” and “humans are too versatile to be fulfilled through having children.”
To me, it is funny that these made the top 2 in the list for reasons why she didn’t want to have children, because I think in a different light, these two things are the most significant motivating factors for having kids (the positive sides of these things, that is).
When my husband and I decided to get married, we both agreed that the only way for us to be completely open with one another was to practice NFP (Natural Family Planning). NFP for us meant that in the sexual act we would be offering ourselves totally and completely to one another (i.e. no contraceptive barriers). NFP can end up being a touchy subject for a lot of people (mainly because it is not widely practiced), so I can only attest to what it means to me here. The reason why it is an important factor for us is because, when we got married, it was the only way we could communicate bodily and spiritually the following: I love you so much, I want to offer myself—my whole body and what it is capable of—to you completely. This didn’t mean when we got married that we needed to plan ahead for the Dugger-load of children we would have (a main aspect in NFP is abstaining when necessary to avoid pregnancy), but it meant that our love was to be so open that having children would not be a negative thing, but something which would enrich our love for one another.
And it has. Boy has it.
I see my husband as a father and it has opened my eyes even wider to the greatness that he is capable of being. I have learned how much more patient he can be. How he has reached beyond himself even further and serves his family in two ways now (as a loving husband, and an amazing father). His being a father hasn’t changed the dynamics of our marriage. Sure it has played a factor in the logistics of some things, but it has not changed how we are intimate with one another, or how much I love him. I have never once felt like he is splitting his love in half to compensate for the new little being in our lives—nor do I think he feels that of me. Rather, the love has doubled.
We didn’t have our son because we weren’t “happy and fulfilled” in our marriage (as she says if she wasn’t, she would maybe consider having kids). Having children is not a result of a lacking, it is a product of love.
Now there is someone in the world who shares the love we have for one another. He is the closest human being we will know (until our other children) who knows what our love for one another is like. He gets it, because he knows it.
Am I saying that having children is the only way to be fulfilled? No. I am not trying to convey this, but rather my belief that it is definitely one of the most beautiful and charitable ways to fulfill oneself. Children are not an accessory, or a stepping stone in the path of life. They fulfill us because they are a unique expression of our love.
Richard of St. Victor describes the Trinity in the following way:
“That love must be mutual is required by the fact that supreme happiness cannot exist without the mutuality of love… a further analysis of the nature of true charity reveals that three persons, not two, are necessary. For charity to be excellent, as well as perfect, it must desire that the love it experiences be a love shared with another… Thus charity is not only mutual love between two; it is fully shared love among three.”
The family unit mimics the Trinity, the most perfect expression of love that there is.
It is no wonder my heart overflows with joy at the very sight of my son. He is love expressed. And he is gorgeous.
God is so good to us. Let us never forget to thank Him daily for our families.