God opened a door deep within me, from a place I had never experienced or even understood existed. Unexpected tears erupted, a whelping cry escaped from my fragile soul that had never heard, nor seen, nor breathed such a thing. I collapsed into a nearby chair unable to carry the weight of what had just happened.
And yet I must take you to the beginning, for that is the only way this tale can be told. Like many families in this nation of ours, our daughter and her husband needed to come live with us when they found themselves in a financial bind. My wife, Sandy, welcomed the idea of our then-pregnant daughter and her husband joining us in our home. Me? Not so much, but I relented aft er several conversations with my wife, and I finally realized that life could be a whole lot worse if I didn’t relent.
So the day came. Our once tidy home was besieged with extra people, extra furniture, extra noise, but not extra food, extra bathrooms, or extra rooms into which one might escape. I prayed for extra patience in order to live the faith I professed on Sunday mornings.
Fortunately, God heard my prayer and, aft er some adjustments to schedules for bathrooms, meals, television, and times at night to be quiet, life settled into a fluid reality. Months came and went, until one evening, when at dinner on a cold winter night, our daughter’s water broke. Aft er a few moments of human bumper cars crashing into one another, our daughter and her husband, with my wife and me following, hurried to the hospital. She was quickly admitted and rushed up to the delivery floor. Our son-in-law followed the gurney on which she lay with fearful courage. My wife and I were escorted to a vacant hospital room on the same floor as the delivery room.
Loving Better by Loving God
A strange night it was, for it was completely quiet. The shuffle of a nurse in soft white shoes walked past the room in which we sat, the ringing of a phone and soft voices floated through the quiet halls. My wife and I sat closely in chairs that were in the room, our hands instinctively intertwined, as if to find courage in the other’s warm presence. This was to be our first grandchild, the child of our child. The idea of such a thing was beyond imagining.
When suddenly arose a singular scream, which shattered the silence and penetrated our parental souls. We had instantly recognized those screams as our daughter’s anguished cry in response to the pangs of labor. She had always been one to reveal her true feelings, and that night, anyone on that hospital floor found out. Sandy and I held one another, unable to respond in any way except by clinging to one another. Then the silence again. The silence became frightful. What was happening? Was she OK? Was the baby healthy? Was it compromised?
Then there came a soft cry, a child’s first breath. Our first grandchild came crying into this place, this moment, this incredible time. I burst into tears, for a door opened in my heart, an unknowable, unimaginable love thrust itself into my life. It was totally unexpected, unforeseen, unanticipated. I didn’t even know there was a door, much less a door behind which this kind of love existed. I was awash in tears that I did not know needed to be shed. Sandy looked at me, and we wept together in joyful tears. The child of our child was born.
From the experience of Kobie’s birth, I experienced a blessing, an awareness that God has a love in store for us that cannot be described, because words diminish the depth and width and height of such a love (Eph 3:17–19). And with this newfound truth, I can love far better than I could have ever loved without it. By loving God, I can love with greater patience, greater kindness, greater forgiveness, greater generosity, greater empathy, a greater drive for peace and justice for everyone.
All these things I now am able to do because of a love I did not know. I am able to do it with a spirit I did not understand. I came to realize that if I love God first, God gives me a greater capacity to love than I could have ever accomplished on my own.
Let Us Pray
I don’t always see or understand which
steps to take in life.
It’s much easier to look away from the
pain in this world, to ignore the darkness
that lurks in the human heart, to pretend
that the fears and insecurities I hold
aren’t really there.
Grant me the courage, Lord, to face these
challenges and, in doing so, near myself
to your warmth, your love.