Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Invisible, Emotional Umbilical Cord of Love

Several days ago I was engaged in a conversation with a 17 year old regarding their relationship with their mother.  It has been a tumultous experience for several months now, and as an observer of both parties, I have witnessed the love-hate tug of war taking place.

It's awful, and yet it is an unavoidable struggle that the majority of families go through.  One of my favorite movies is "Little Women".  I watch how closely connected these four young women are to their mother, and I become very misty-eyed at their intimate affection.  Then you have the other side of family life where a closeness will dissolve into an acquaintance status, and one wonders how it became that way.

I read this morning how the physical umbilical cord delivers oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood to the growing baby inside the womb, and at the same time removes de-oxygenate, nutrient-poor blood from the baby.  It does not mix the mother's blood with the baby's blood but filters it out.  For nine months that infant's life is sustained, and deeply connected to that mother.  Then birth occurs, and from that point on, that same infant begans to express its own life, and eventually becomes its own person able to sustain itself.

But, in the mother's soul is an invisible umbilical cord that can never be cut.  She is forever emotionally linked to the soul of her child.  It is this soul separation that can become more painful than the physical birth she endured to bring that infant into the world.

As I spoke to this young man, listenng to his love for his mother, I also observed something in his eyes that made me reflect on my own youth.  How I wanted to be on my own!  How I wanted to be the "captain of my own ship"!  I did not understand then as I do now how that must have broken my own mother's soul.  I had no mature conception of how she still longed for me to be that child she could call at will, exert some measure of control over, and still be involved in the decisions for my life.

Neither does this young man.  Life is calling him.  He had a sadness about him as we spoke, knowing that some of his decisions have wounded his mother.  Someday, he will, like we all do, regret those decisions.  Not now.  Life is calling him. 

I remember the moments of my own life when I watched my children answer the call for their own lives.  It's hard.  Still is at times.  It's life.  We learn to "love" them silently.  We learn to turn our heads away, close our mouths, and embrace them in prayer.  We learn to trust Someone greater than us all to walk with them, though they may not see Him.  Our hearts do.  We must learn to use that love that is greater and eternal.

Recently, a new baby was born in our church.  As I held that precious life, the memories flooded in, and my heart longed for those  moments when I sat alone in a rocker, holding my babies, and never wanting to move from that spot.  I did not and neither will any young mother realize the worth of those moments until you are no longer privileged to have them.

To this young man, I can only pray that as he reaches out to grab all that he believes life has for him, that he will slow his pace, look back, and look at the one who sustained his life with such love and devotion.  That invisible, emotional, umbilical cord of love will always connect him to her, and someday it will help him, as he matures, to be strengthened to face that journey himself.

God bless the parent's heart!