Kiss It As You Give It Away, Or The Eternal Lop-Side

My little daughter, the inspiration for the first Charlie’s Church of Christ post back in July, is sick. She has a cough that breaks my heart, and often the coughs will cause her to sneeze (which is kind of funny). She doesn’t seem phased by the cold, and still has far more energy and joy than I ever thought a baby could have contained in such a small body.

Noelle asleep in her car seat. If you only knew how rare a phenomena this is.

She’s six months old now, and a total charmer. She smiles at store employees when we walk by, though it hasn’t yet resulted in a discount. She cracks up giggling when she sees dogs and she is mesmerized by TV’s (hence why we don’t have one).

As she was lying on our bed coughing, each one touching that parental nerve that gives you more pain than they are even feeling, I was overcome at just how much I love this little girl, and I was filled with all of these cliches about doing anything for my child. But here’s the bad news: being a parent automatically places you in a lop-sided relationship. I will pour my life, heart and resources into my daughter until the day I die. And she will simply consume whatever it is I’m giving to her. And that’s okay.

Parents long for the day, if it comes, when their child is able to finally see just how much their parent loved them and how much they did for them. I think some hope that the child will then begin the process of repaying that love, of investing back into the parents. But, it will never truly be even. The parent will give and give, even with no prospect of even a tenth in return.

This is of course the same for God. We will never ever return the love he has lavished upon us back to him. Many of us wake up way too late for this, and many of us break his heart on a regular basis. But here’s the thing – God isn’t expecting, nor demanding, a return on his investment. It will never even out for him, and he has seemed to have resigned to this.

Really, this is the name of the game for people who follow Jesus. We are signing up to giving our love away, though it often falls on deaf ears. We will sacrifice ourselves in various senses of the word, and, well, it isn’t fair. Though love is the most beautiful thing we have on this planet, about the only thing that can break through stone walls and mile high fences of the heart, though it is the reason for living – it isn’t fair.

It sounds like bad news for us, as it means a life of giving out our love never knowing where it will go, yet this is the fate of God as well – with us. And thus an unfair world, in the end, is quite the ideal for us.

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13 Responses to Kiss It As You Give It Away, Or The Eternal Lop-Side

  1. David says:

    It is an interesting blog, Charlie. I really enjoyed a lot of your points. And, I am sorry to hear the little on is not feeling great. Trust me, having kids will make you feel things you never imagined – some good, and some not so good.

    Two things that you said made me feel a little uneasy. The use of the word ‘unfair’ is the first. I realize that you are saying that a child cannot give love back to the parent in proportion to what has been lavished on them. That is certainly true. I would say it’s normal, not unfair. There is something selfish in saying that we give to get… it’s unfair. In terms of where we are with God, we should be thankful that as Christians we don’t get what we deserve; which is death. Thank God for Jesus. I guess my point is that God was never trying to be fair with us. He is merciful. As you enjoy your daughter, he has created us to enjoy him. It is a privilege to be an adopted son or daughter of the King.

    The other thing you said was that God “doesn’t expect anything in return.” That is not entirely true. Sure, he loves us whether we love him or not. But for those that don’t love Jesus, there will be a judgment, and the realization that the spiritual realm is real, and they are not going to be a part of it. In the words of Jesus: “there will be the weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

    You may be familiar with the Parable of the Talents or minas (now bags of gold NIV 2010).

    Matthew 25:29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

    My point is that we all have a responsibility to God for which we will be held accountable. That is why the Bible says to honor your parents. it is not in return for anything, but simply an acknowledgement of his grace.

    • you’re right by saying its unfair implies giving to get, though I ultimately concluded in the post that we will love and never get back, and that’s okay. I could probably have clarified we don’t give to get – I was avoiding cliches.

      And I probably could have said that God doesn’t expect a full return on his investment, he’s bound to lose some with each and every one of us, as we don’t love as fully as the divine.

  2. jay @ bethegospel says:

    my girl is six months old too. She was born on july 14th. when was yours born?

  3. Charlie: I was so dead set against having a girl that I wouldn’t even let my wife look at girl’s clothes when i was with her. I think she snuck peaks because we had two of them. 🙂 THERE AIN’T NOTHING LIKE BEING WRAPPED AROUND THEIR FINGER AND EXPERIENCING THEIR LOVE. Even today as they are 35 and 31 they still show me their love. Still ain’t nothing like it. Good thoughts today.

  4. Larry Hughes says:

    Charlie:

    When the children are so young and get sick, it can be very taxing in our hearts to see them suffer wishing we could heal them. In most cases, they do have the resiliency to snap back to better health as quickly as when they get sick.

    In my experience with my two daughters as they went through their teenage and young adult years, I and the wife was the ones dishing out the disipline and advice which was not always appreciated. It was not untill they had children of their own did they realize what our motives in those early years really meant. Now they appreciate what we did to insure their lives turned out properly in their formative years.

    It may seem unfair to you at the time but if the children experience love from the parents from birth to adulthood, their love for their parents will allways be returned equally if not ten fold. There in lies the answer. Love is a two way street. What love you show in their formative years will be returned then and later. We as parents are the pillars of stability and strength for them in a time where peer pressure and temptations are rampant. They just don’t realize it as first.

    I realized this as a young adult with my parents thus my love for them grew even more for them as I aged. I wouldn’t say it is unfair as a parent, it is an obligation that pays dividends in return in your and their later years.

    Yes God loves us deeply. It breaks His heart when we sway but He still loves us and forgives us if we repent. What brings joy to His heart is when we follow His guidance in our every day lives and share our love for Him with others.

    • I suppose it is a bit delayed. I’m also don’t get the best examples in my life, working with teenage and young adult drug addicts, whose parents are investing so much in them only to have their hearts broken repeatedly.

      • Larry Hughes says:

        That is true Charlie. It does happen no matter how much the parents put into their relationship with their children. That usually happens when the peer pressure and temptations are greater than the parents love and guidance. Usually by the time a child is 9 years old ( I am told), they already have imprinted in their minds what their personality will be ( good or bad, abiding or rebelious).

        The sad part is there is not much available in early intervention for these kids or the schools fail to recognize it till it is too late. Another problem I feel is many parents fail to use Dr. Spock’s book properly if you get my drift.

        We used to work as volunteers for “Kids in Crisis” a few years back and it is heartbreaking what they have experienced in their young lives with out porper guidance.

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