A friend of mine’s house burned down a few years ago. Their son (who has Downs Syndrome) accidentally started the fire. My heart broke for them; not only for the things they lost – but also for them as they dealt with the knowledge of what their son accidentally did.
As I was reading a news article on the story at the time, I saw that they had interviewed my friend’s husband about the fire. Do you know what he said? He said, “The house can be replaced, but my wife and kids can't. I love my son more today than I did yesterday, it's just an accident."
I started to cry. What a great example of love and what truly matters in life. We have things that are important to us. We hold our photographs and videos close to our heart, we have gifts that our spouses or children have given us, and we have items that may have been handed down from past generations, or that remind us of a certain place or time. All of these things hold special meaning to us; yet when it comes down to it – it is our families’ and the people in our hearts and lives that truly matter.
I know that I used to get so intense when something special of mine was broken or ruined. In the last couple of years, I have lightened up a little bit – especially when I know that it was purely accidental. I am learning that “things” as important and special as they are to me, just don’t mean as much as the people I love and care about. How I handle a situation and whom I invest in as a person, means more to me. If I break my child’s heart over something they ruined, all I really have are two broken things. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t teach our children to be responsible, or even try to make restitution for something that they have broken or wrecked. I am saying that who we are and how we love each other is everything.
I want to love like my friend’s husband. I want to love that fully, that completely that nothing else can touch it. I want to be able to carry in me the ability to forgive greatly.
We often say that our families matter the most to us, but our temperaments and actions don’t often follow suit and carry out that attitude. When put to the test, would you be able to forgive so easily and love so freely at great cost to yourself? Our Lord did.
I want to learn that kind of love.