Family, Parenting

The Life of a Parent: Gaining Insight into a Different Kind of Love

The way I understand the Bahá’í Writing, we are created in the image of God, and we can understand Him better by working on the various aspects of our spiritual selves.  I also understand that we are told that one of the main purposes of marriage is to have children.

It makes sense to me that nothing revealed in the Sacred Writings of any religion would counter their main purpose: to put us in touch with our true, spiritual selves.  Therefore, parenthood isn’t just about perpetuating the human race.  It is also about our personal spiritual development.

And boy, do I feel like I am already so different from the person I was a mere couple of months ago, before becoming a parent!

I could go on and on about the various spiritual lessons I feel I have learned since having a baby.  However, I feel there is one encompassing one that rules them all (yes, much like a certain ring): that of love.

Now this might come as blasphemous, so let me begin by saying that in no way so I ever expect to be able to even come close to understanding God.  But I do believe that we can gain smidgens of glimmerings of understanding, tiny atoms of it compared to the greatness of extent of knowledge that exists.

We are told in all Sacred Writings that God loves us.  But many times, we can think that God can’t love us because we are so messed up; or that God doesn’t love us because look at all the horrible things He is letting happen to us.

When I look down at my baby, I don’t feel like I can even not love her.  I went around a wide circle of parents that I know; some of them have been parents only a little longer than my husband and I, while others have grandchildren; some of them have angels for children while others suffer the consequences of the actions of their children daily.  And every single one of them said the same thing: they cannot not love their children.

So if we, limited little humans, are capable of this kind of love, then definitely an all-Mighty and Perfect God can love us, however messed up we may be.

There are some things that I have to allow to happen to my baby that she really doesn’t like—some of which actually make her suffer.  I’m thinking for example about vaccinations.  In her view, the ones who rule her world—her father and I—are allowing a terrible thing to happen to her.  But of course, her father and I know that the vaccines are necessary for her, that in the long run, not vaccinating her could be lead to a much greater deal of pain than the 24 hours of suffering she went through.  Our love has to go beyond her immediate needs, and accept her pain and be there for her as she sobs her way through the afternoon.

God, then, doesn’t allow horrible things to happen to us; rather, there are horrible things we have to go through in the short run so that, in the long run, we don’t suffer even more.  His Love is what allows for these terrible things to continue happening, because He knows that if He swoops in—which He can—the suffering might ease in the very short term, but will be much worse in the long term.

All of this helps me as a parent and a person.  As a parent, it helps me prepare for the pain my baby/child/teenager will go through when I deny them something or put them through another difficult situation.  As a person, it helps me understand that basically, that is what God is doing when things seems to be going irreparably wrong.  And as a blogger, it makes for quite the powerful blog post.

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