Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
God makes good matches, not good mothers or good children. There are many reasons why we have children, but the overwhelming reason we choose to have them is to be loved unconditionally in a way that we believe only children can. It is rare that we make the choice in order to sacrifice ourselves to be a vessel for a soul needing to incarnate.
We think about the feeling of being so loved by this beautiful little creature. We think about this wonderful bond we will have as the years pass and we rock back and forth on the porch swing just basking in the moonlight of our unconditional love for each other. We think of Hallmark moments and our eyes swell with tears of joy and anticipation. It is almost like the allure of that bright shiny apple on the most beautiful tree in Eden. Yes, we who choose want to pour our love into this child we seek to bring into the world, but we want, very much to have some love poured back. Some people see a baby as this perfect piece of clay that they can mold into this perfect being that they can sign and send out to the world as their perfect creation. Whatever the reason, it is misguided and selfish – in a good way.
There is no good mother, however we want to believe ourselves to be, and there is not bad mother, however some of us like to think ours was, for the soul there is only the perfect match for the journey that begins with the union the creates the souls human form.
I remember the moment I was standing in the mirror with my hair in curlers, looking at every flaw on my face and my oldest daughter who was 2 at the time, saying, “Mommy you are so beautiful”. I just felt at that moment that no pain in the world could ever touch the depth of love that she poured into my heart at that moment. Well, surprise, surprise, those beautiful babies who can heal us like a salve from God, can cut us like a knife from hell. And why? It is because we forget that we give them skin, bones, flesh and blood, but they are not ours, and from the moment that they are able to understand that within them is an separate and living “I”, we are no longer the moon the sun and the stars, we become the bars, the locks and the chains. They accept no responsibility for our sacrifices, and in truth, they bear none, as we bear no responsibility for their failures, their falls and the trials along their journeys.
There are no accidents, and no contracts made without benefit to all souls involved, whether or not we see it as a benefit while here. We are not given children to fill our need to be loved for who we are, we are given children to test our ability or to teach us to love not only our children unconditionally, but to love ourselves when it seems to us, and sometimes when they tell us unequivocally, that we have failed them horribly. They come in to live the life their souls have chosen, and to learn the lessons that their souls have chosen to learn as have we all. As Gibran continues:
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
We can neither sign our names to their successes, nor fear our names blazing on their failings, both are equal on their journey and both belong solely to them. They did not come into our lives to fill our need for love, but through them we may find a way to value ourselves for being chosen, as the bow, by the One who makes all arrows, even ourselves. Children don’t hurt us; our expectations of our children hurt us. Children cannot heal us, our faith and love can only do that. We over estimate our effect on our children, they come to us fully cooked, we only wrap them. We try to insulate them with warmth, or structure, or freedom, or whatever tools God gave us to use. But we do not create the seed of the child, we only provide the soil and water. The seed will grow into what it came to grow into. I have recently met outstanding, loving, tender souls, who survived abuse that is almost painful to hear recounted. Our children teach us that love is not dependent upon an exchange of equal measure. They teach us, as do our own parents, how much we can love.
Children are individual souls with lives and lessons that they have lived and learned before we met. They have personalities that we do not create, if we like each other it is a nice thing. If we don’t, that is ok too, because children to do not incarnate to like their parents, they incarnate to live their lives and travel their journeys. As parents, we have been given a great gift, if we have learned to love unconditionally, even when we ourselves are not loved. Because even that is only a part of the physical journey, for souls are nothing else but love.
There is no pain greater than that between parent and child, because we live a myth on earth, one that is emphasized in greeting cards, those often heart wrenching Hallmark moments. We have created this unreal drama, of bad parents, or bad children, which leads to blame and guilt within the family. And the family is the seed of the society, and so bad and good, blame and guilt spread out and become hate, and war. It is just not that simple, or that complex. God doesn’t make good parents, or bad parents, good children, or bad children God makes perfect matches. Need for need, lesson for lesson and gift for gift. It is our journey, both as parents and children to go through this fire. And find, that holy grail, that golden chalice, that love that waits for all of us to discover once the illusion has been burned in the fire of illusion.
And on a lighter note, if dogs could talk, there would be no overpopulation, maybe just Adam, Eve and their faithful dog Fido .