The other night I was sitting on top of an Avengers comforter with tears streaming down my face as my three year old son wept in my arms. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest. I knew he was grieving deeply in his tiny little heart. From his limited toddler perspective, he thought I was doing something really cruel to him. I knew I had the power to give back what he had lost, and I also knew that wouldn’t be what was best for him. The best I could give him was my presence. My love, my compassion, and my arms around him.
It was his first night without his pacifier.
To some, you may read that and think “Oh! Well that’s not a big deal. Way to be dramatic.”
But if you’ve ever made it through toddler years as a parent, you get it. What appears to us grown ups as a plastic soother for a baby that has far outgrown it’s use, to a three year old is seen as his best friend. For all three years of his life, he has not known a day without “Papi.” Papi has been there for him. Through every skinned knee, bumped head, fever, sickness, hard night, disappointment, rejection, and toddler hardship – Papi has been there to offer instant comfort. Copeland once saw a picture of the Hulk that he thought Hulk looked sad in and he said, “Hulk needs Papi!”
It is not dramatic to say that this loss of Papi, for Copeland, is an experience of grief. He was devastated, to say the least. All I could hope for as I was holding him was that my presence would be enough for him. And it turned out that in the end, it was. What a gift it was to me, as his mother, to experience my son finding his comfort in me!
Honestly, it has been a rough couple of months. I’ve been asking God, “Ok, what do you have for me in this? What are you doing here?” And as I sought the answers to these questions, a friend of mine who has just been THROUGH IT with loss in her life, offered the most simple yet profound wisdom. She said something along the lines of, “Some seasons are just hard and we don’t always know what God is teaching us. Sometimes life is just hard and it’s not about some big lesson. But God is good and he is with us, and this isn’t our home.”
As I held Copeland in his bed I kept repeating to him, “You can do this buddy, because I’m right here with you. I’m not leaving. We are going to get through this, together.”
And I wonder if that is what my Heavenly Father might be saying to me right now too.
If I think about my experience as Copeland’s parent through this and translate it to my relationship with God, I see my Father holding me close. He has tears in His eyes because he has compassion on those He loves. He is reminding me that He is right here with me, and that is all I need.
All pacifiers pale in comparison to the comfort He brings. I long for things that will soothe me – be it coffee, wine, chocolate, Netflix, Instagram, fast food on a bad day, sleep (oh to sleep!), or even family and friends. But the comfort of His presence provides what all other things cannot. He is the Real Deal, and he is with me. And that is enough.
So, it’s a hard season. But He is good. He sees me and has compassion on me. And He is with me.
And maybe that’s the silver lining. The only silver lining.
And it’s good.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
The Lord is good to all;
he has compassion on all he has made.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”-Matthew 11:28-30