Love in the Time of Covid-19
I have spent the last six days with two additional children living in my home unexpectedly. A family crisis that has seen their mother hospitalized and their father unable to travel from the neighbouring province to be here due to the lockdown brought these children to me.
Well in fact I asked the question, “How can I help with the children?” and initially was asked to support for a couple of hours. Without going into any more detail, they have ended up living in my home for 6 days.
What has touched me deeply is that no matter what either parent has done to these children – and some serious and disturbing things have happened – they simply love their parents. Each child tends to favor one parent more than the other at times but no matter how shockingly they have been treated, they remain committed in their love for their parents.
The young girl has been subjected to horrible verbal, and sometimes, physical abuse. And yet, when her tooth fell out unexpectedly one night, her first excited words were, “Oh my goodness. I cannot wait to show my mom!” The meals she has eaten are all of the ones her mom makes the best. She has not asked for her mom or about her mom but she has spoken of her mom in many ways – big and small. And this after being called names that are not repeatable.
I have wondered this week why this is, and if it is a good thing. To love someone who hurts and abuses you over and over? How is it possible? The thought that struck me the most was their unconditional love is their only shield / weapon / protector against the vile onslaught they have endured.
Life for these children has been hard, and is likely to continue to be so unfairly hard for the foreseeable future. I watched them playing happily and innocently for a long time today thinking they can do this because they do not know what is to come.
But that is the reality for all of us – we do not know what is to come. How can they manage to stay in the moment, not think back to all the hurt, but stay in the here and now – laughing, splashing in water, running around screeching with delight at the icy water. They know tomorrow will come, they know their parent will come, they know everything will change again. And yet they still laugh.
Why? How? Possibly - because they have that shield of unconditional love firmly in place. It is their only weapon, and they use it to maintain some hope in brutal human beings.
I am not sure at what point we let go of our ability to love unconditionally. But wherever it is on our timelines, we need to go back and try to push reset. There must be a tipping point where we decided love needed conditions in order for us to survive. We need to find a way to make that shift. Because without our ability to love unconditionally, there is simply no point.
Tomorrow they will be reunited with one of their parents and my deepest prayer is that they will continue to be protected by their unconditional love for their parents. I am so anxious for them because probably for the first time in a long time, they have had 6 days of normal – kindness, consistency, nurturing, care, and respect, and to return to lives of hardship just doesn’t seem fair or right.
I hope that along their journey, they meet up regularly with people who will be kind and gentle with them so that they keep that flame of hope towards humanity burning and keep their innate ability to love unconditionally. Children are indeed our hope for the future.