Do little people just naturally have big hearts?
I have been wondering about this question since I have been enjoying the company of brothers and sisters who have little people. Enjoying both my siblings in Christ and their “babies.” It doesn’t take a lot to have a loving exchange with these little ones. Is it the fact that their parents are lovingly raising them? Are they exercising a loving authority over them that is producing the love that is pouring out of them? Or did God just make them that way?
Perhaps I am asking the bigger question, is love something that we learn to do? I think we do learn how to love from our parents. Parental love is an interesting thing. If the parents are loving their children with abandon, sacrificially knowing all the while that this is an investment that they are making that other people will have the pleasure of enjoying the dividends. I’m not saying that there is no return but I am saying that there is no guarantee what the return will look like once your children become adults.
All children are born with a corrupt nature and if we are around even the most delightful small children long enough we will see the ugly head of inborn selfishness raise it’s ugly head. There are also small children who are not very loving. I’ve been around those kind of kids too. It is sad and I think there is something to be said for children who are not wanted and undisciplined who do not experience the out-pouring of sacrificial love of their parents and/or grandparents. How do we bring hope, light and love to those situations?
If we believe that we are created in the image of God and one of the distinct characteristics of God is love then it would make sense that we were born with a capacity for love. It is my contention that our love is brought out and cultivated by the adults that play the role of our primary caregivers, often the parents in our formative years. This is not to say that healing cannot take place for the children who grow up not knowing a love that is healthy and life-giving.
CS Lewis in his book The Great Divorce shine a light on parental love that turns into possessiveness that is so ugly. It is a great warning for parents with small children. For small children will grow up to be adults, sooner rather than later. This exchange is between Pam and her brother Reginald who visits her as a Bright Spirit.
“If He loved me He’d let me see my boy. If He loved me why did He take away Michael from me? I wasn’t going to say anything about that. But it’s pretty hard to forgive, you know.”
“But He had to take Michael away. Partly for Michael’s sake. . . .”
“I’m sure I did my best to make Michael happy. I gave up my whole life….”
“Human beings can’t make one another really happy for long. And secondly, for your sake. He wanted your merely instinctive love for your child (tigresses share that, you know!) to turn into something better. He wanted you to love Michael as He understands love. You cannot love a fellow-creature fully till you love God. Sometimes this conversion can be done while the instinctive love is still gratified. But there was, it seems, no chance of that in your case. The instinct was uncontrolled and fierce and monomaniac. (Ask your daughter, or your husband. Ask your own mother. You haven’t once thought of her.) The only remedy was to take away its object. It was a case for surgery.
When that first kind of love was thwarted, then there was just a chance that in the loneliness, in the silence, something else might begin to grow.”
“This is all nonsense-cruel and wicked nonsense. What right have you to say things like that about Mother-love? It is the highest and holiest feeling in human nature.”
“Pam, Pam-no natural feelings are high or low, holy or unholy, in themselves. They are all holy when God’s hand is on the rein. They all go bad when they set up on their own and make themselves into false gods.”
“My love for Michael would never have gone bad. Not if we’d lived together for millions of years.”
“You are mistaken. And you must know. Haven’t you met-down there-mothers who have their sons with them, in Hell? Does their love make them happy?”
The whole chapter (the book) is incredibly powerful with great wisdom and insight. The warning is LOVE your children, LET them GO in due time and the returns may not look like you hoped but if you will love and trust God you will be blessed by them in ways you never imagined.
Back to the little children who are making their way into my life and my heart. It just amazes me, how smiles, hugs, listening to them, reading and playing with them, sharing a meal with them is a loving way to cultivate that capacity for love and draw it out of them. One of the most tender and incredible feelings of being loved by a small child I’ve experienced on two occasions with the same dear little girl and that was for her to fall asleep in my lap. To be entrusted with this precious little darling, for her to trust that if she falls asleep she is in good hands is humbling. I’ve been loved in a way that melts my heart and again, whispers in my ear from my Heavenly Father, “this is how I want you to trust me, like this little child who is trusting you completely with all of her being.”
To be continued….