The Depth of His Love
Connor and I decided to go out to Waterfall Glen in order to see what was left of our “special log”.
Two years before while hiking through the woods, we came upon a huge log lying on its side. It had no bark and had been grayed by the weather, but it was strong and hollow and had a huge hole in the top. Connor loved to play in that log, climbing through the hole and peeking out. There were many opportunities for great photos. On subsequent visits to our special log, we even set up the camera on a tripod and took photos of ourselves together. On the day before Connor had moved out to Washington, we visited our special log, only to find that someone had broken off large pieces.
So on this day almost a year later, a few weeks before his 6th birthday, we decided to see if we could find what was left of our log. We found the top, the part with the hole in it, lying upside down in the Creek. We decided we’d find another special log and turned to walk away. We were a short way down the trail when Connor said, “Papa Tom, I think we should go back and break a piece off of our log, carve our names in it and put it in your living room.”
This seemed like a worthy project, so we headed back. I found a branch and got the log piece close to shore. I took a few whacks at it, but the wood was good and had enough flex in it that it wouldn’t break off. I soon found a longer branch about 3 inches thick and about 10 feet long. This would surely do the trick. I took a few good whacks…but nothing. I told Connor to stand back and wound up for one final attempt. I gave it all I had only to watch the end of the branch slide off the log and hit Connor in the middle of his face.
I felt my heart in my socks as I ran to him knowing there must be damage from the force of the blow.
As he looked up at me, I saw the small spats of blood, but no visible cuts. He began to cry and push me away for only a second, and then said, “I’m OK, I’m OK.”
I told him to come to me so I could check him out.
I’m OK, I don’t need a hug,” he said as I watched this little guy try to be strong.
“Well, Papa needs a hug,” I said. “You come over here so I can check you out,” I said firmly, and he came.
I found some lens-cleaning tissues in my camera bag and moistened them with water from our water bottle. As I wiped his little face, I was filled with different emotions. I felt the love a parent is given in wishing it would have happened to me rather than to him. I was filled with gratitude that God had spared Connor from permanent injury and me from knowing I would have been the cause of such injury. As far as I could tell, the branch had missed his eyes and nose, but instead hit the fleshy part around his lips. I really think he could sense my pain and concern, so that he merely said, “Papa, it’s OK, you didn’t mean to hit me.”
I learned something that day. I know how much I love Connor, but I didn’t expect him to love me back with the same depth. I was wrong. My little buddy was willing to take a blow as hard as that and not complain so as not to blame me or make me feel bad.
As we walked back to the car, I said, “ Connor, I think I feel worse when you are hurting than when I’m hurting.”
“I know,” he responded, “like when you were sick the other day. I think I felt worse than you. I guess that’s because we care so much about each other.”
I don’t know why God allows lessons to come in this way. Maybe it’s to allow us a glimpse of God the Father’s love for His Son as He watched Him take on the sins of the world, or maybe it’s to allow me to see the potential for greatness in the heart and soul of my “little buddy.”
Either way, I’m grateful.