How one mother's heart was captured by her crazy kids on a family vacation
On the last night of our epic three week family vacation we all lay on our backs on a dock on Cascade Lake, Orcas Island to watch a rare meteor shower. I wish I had a picture of us – side by side in the dark - gazing across an expanse of sky trying to capture every stray streak to launch itself in our direction. Then a chorus of a gasps would ring out. OOOhhhh, aaawwweee …
The last three weeks has been a chorus of gasps. Involuntary breathless contractions as my heart spilled forth its unreasonable love for my family. There is a joy and contentment that knows no limit when I have free time with our four adult kids and their sweethearts. There is nothing reasonable about my love. It captures every cell of my body and fills every breath. Inside the ordinary moments of walking together, sharing a meal, telling a story, sitting by a fire, reading a book or watching the stars, it is both ordinary and extraordinary. When they live far away and show up for a visit – why do I burst into tears at the sight of their beautiful faces? It is unreasonable. Why after the longest vacation of our lives - as our time of farewell approaches – am I reduced to tears yet again? It is unreasonable.
Now, please understand. Mine is a very normal family – in fact a very motley crew. There have been all the usual suspects and experiences – the middle of the night illnesses or runs to the hospital, the child that refused to sleep in their own bed, the teenager that smelled more like weed than a human, the myriad of misunderstandings, dirty laundry and flagrant expressions of age appropriate behavior. In our bunch there are even stories of divorces, affairs, abuses and tales of adults acting anything but adult. But we are a beautiful bunch too – woven thick with redemption, forgiveness, laughter, grace, second changes and love beyond reason.
Love is both necessary for a life well lived and at the very same time completely outside the boundaries of reason. It is not neat and tidy. It is not containable, predictable or presentable. It is not subtle or safe. I cannot turn down the volume on my love any more than I can keep back tears. My tears listen to my heart deaf entirely to the voices pleading to keep up a more reasonable front. While I might be able to do this on any other day – somehow when the precious rare encircling of my family fills my company unreasonable love swells and bares naked its vulnerable truth … I love my beloved husband … I love our children. It is within their company where I know unreasonable love.
So why were we given the capacity for unreasonable love? (I am a glutton for reason.) Is this a gift from a benevolent Creator? Is this the reward for the courage to love without restraint? Is this an intrinsic motivator to open more intentionally to love’s possibilities within the human experience? Is this a clue into encounters that give more purpose and meaning to this human life we live? Or is it an inevitable trap door into pain and suffering?
There is no reason ... there are no answers. There is only choice.
Since reason cannot help me understand the unreasonable, I will throw caution to the wind and choose to believe in unreasonable love. I will believe in the joy and pain of it … in the ordinary and extraordinary of it … in the reasonable and unreasonable of it … and the gift and responsibility of it.
… And … I will still I want to know more about the God who gave us this delicious, maddening and mysterious capacity.