Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sacrificial love

My mother-in-law has a close friend who shops with her. They are both retired and love to spend their time hunting for bargains. It is easy to think about my mother-in-law and her friend in a narrow way and forget that they are women who have led rich lives and were once 38 year old women like me. That they have seen life through the glasses that I now wear.

My mother-in-law's friend was a foster mother because she married later in life and never had any children. She and her husband raised 2 children for 10 years each, among a number of children placed with them for shorter times. When those children turned 16 they returned to see their biological parents. They never returned to live with their foster parents. One, they do not know where he is and the other lives interstate with some contact by telephone.

I do not know all the circumstances and can only guess at the lives those children have lived. But when I think of having a child live in my family for 10 years, loving them and caring for their needs, then no longer having close contact with them and not seeing their children. When I think of that I am struck by the sacrifice of that parental love. To give so freely and not be able to reap the benefits that so many parents take for granted as they grow older.

It is so easy to see a person with the narrow perspective of being a bit-player in the drama of my life. People can seem insignificant or unremarkable, but only because I am self-absorbed and preoccupied with me and mine. May I never forget the precious blessings I have in my life, but I pray that I will not be so transfixed that I ignore or underestimate the people around me.

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