Hello world, this is my first post on the site, and I’m starting with something I’ve been wanting to do for a while… a letter to my sons. I don’t imagine I’ll ever pass along everything I want to say to them, but this will allow me to break it into smaller, more manageable pieces. Here is Part 1.
My Dearest Boys,
Let me start out by apologizing for my lack of eloquence. Many people are blessed with the gift of expressing feelings through words, but unfortunately for me, and I’m sorry to say, unfortunately for you, I am not one of those people. So please know that as you read this, there are limitless, unchartered, never-to-fully-be-expressed-here feelings between the lines. If I make odd analogies, or literary or cinematic references, it is only because that is how feelings are stored in my brain.
For example, here’s a good one. One of these days, hopefully before you read this, you’ll read the book (or as I did, see the movie) Of Mice And Men. One of the main characters is a guy named Lenny, who has some special needs, and is mentally handicapped (the specifics escape me because I was an early teen when I saw the movie). The great thing about Lenny though, is that because of his lack of mental ability, he lives his life through feelings. His feelings control his actions, and because of his handicap, his brain is not strong enough to keep those feelings and actions from extending beyond societal norms. In other words, his feelings cause him to do things that are childish, inappropriate, and even dangerous, due to a lack of understanding or forethought of consequences.
The moment that sticks out in my mind about this story, and about Lenny, is when he finds these kittens in the barn on the farm where he lives. He takes care of them for a little while I think, but his excitement about the kittens, and his love for the kittens, and I think the feeling of BEING loved that he gets in return from the kittens, is too much for him. He loves them too much… too much for his mind to control. He wants to be close to them. To feel them close to him. To love and be loved. He holds them, and hugs them and squeezes them tight. But these are kittens, and (I failed to mention it before, but…) he’s a big guy…. Like really big. The kittens, unfortunately, are no match for his uncontrolled strength, regardless of how much he loves them… all he can think about is being close to them, and the deadly combination of his strength and their weakness does not, cannot stop him. To be certain, in the end, his love is selfish because regardless of his love for the kittens, he cannot think about their wellbeing, but rather only about what he wants. It’s a sad, sad, story, and image, and I’m sorry I have to bring it up, especially at the beginning of this letter, but it’s an image I live with every day.
You see, the reason I tell you this story, is because, while there are differences between myself and Lenny, there are similarities. I can control my actions. And I put the wellbeing of those I love above what I want. And, while on the outside Lenny is a monster, on the inside he is fully, and completely, and childishly in love. I am telling you this story because I want to express to you how much, how great my love for each one of you is. There were times, honestly, when each of you were tiny newborn infants, that I consciously had to make an effort not to squeeze you as hard as I really wanted to. You couldn’t understand my words, and I just wanted you to know how much I loved you, and so I would hold you, and sing to you, and rock you, and hug you tight. But my love for you kept me from showing you my love because at that time, it was too much for you to handle. One of the things I have enjoyed as you have gotten older is that I can hug you a little bit tighter and show you a little bit more how much I love you. And to be hugged tightly back!!! To feel little arms that can’t reach all the way around my shoulders, but still try to squeeze the life out of me, is one of the greatest feelings I’ve had as a dad.
Just know, that my love for you never ends. As you grow, I will continue to give you the strongest, tightest hugs I can without doing you harm. And I look forward to the day when you are strong enough to withstand my strongest hug. I imagine this is a lot like God’s love for us. We are like babies that would not be able to withstand the full force of His infinite love for us. And I bet He can’t wait for the day when we are in Heaven with Him, and He is finally able to squeeze us with all of his might without hurting us, and we are able to squeeze him back.