My son is 8 months old and just recently learned how to stand up by grabbing hold of things. Unfortunately, his balance is terrible. Even while holding on to things, he often trips over himself and falls down.
As a stay-at-home dad, it is my job to make sure this kid doesn’t kill himself between the hours of 8 and 5. Today has been a difficult day since hour one.
You see, now that he’s learning to stand up, it’s all he wants to do. And he needs to so he can eventually learn to balance better and soon, walk. Unfortunately, since he’s not good at it, he often hurts himself.
I do my best to keep this from happening, but he falls so abruptly and without warning, that unless I continually stand behind him ready to catch him, there’s no way for me to stop him from falling. So, I let him fall and do my best to keep him away from the more dangerous areas.
There are 3 such areas in our living room that we are having difficulty baby-proofing or blocking off, and he seems to be drawn to them constantly. In these areas, though they are safe to stand in, if he falls, he is more likely to bump his head and hurt himself.
So, most of my day is keep him away from those areas.
The problem is, once he gets fixated on standing in a certain place, he refuses to give up. I see him go to stand in a danger zone, I run over and pull him down, he stands up again, I move him to a play area, he crawls right back, I drag him all the way across the room, he B-lines right back. The entire last hour before I started writing this was spent watching him stand up and me pulling him back down, over and over and over again.
He’ll hurt himself if I don’t. But, unfortunately, I can’t keep protecting him forever. He is going to hurt himself and get hurt by others. A necessity of life is pain.
When he falls down and bumps his head and wails in pain, it’s hard for me to not cry too.
A friend of mine told me about a conversation he had with a new dad. The dad was telling him that babies cry so much and when they are newborns, you can’t always figure out why they are crying, and many times, there might not even be a reason.
My friend asked him, “What do you do when the baby is wailing and you can’t figure out a reason why?”
The new dad, “Man, usually I just cry.”
And it’s true. When Elijah was just a couple months old, there was a stretch of several days where he would cry uncontrollably and nothing I did would fix it. I’d change his diaper, feed him, bump him, hold him, rock him, give him a binkie, give him toys, etc, etc, etc., and nothing would do the trick.
And several of those days, by the end of the cycle of trying whatever I could think of, I’d just collapse onto the floor, holding him as tight as I could, and I would cry. Harder than any adult man has any business crying.
So now, when he’s crying and I know it’s because he’s in pain, it breaks my heart even more.
In the Bible, we see many instances of God crying. Jesus wept. God cried over the plight of his people. And we are called children of God. And oh, how we must look like such children to him.
There have been many times in my life when I kept returning to a place where I’ve been hurt before, be it a bad habit or a broken relationship, thinking that this time I’ll be able to handle it, that surely my footing is strong enough, only to be reminded how weak and immature I really am, over and over and over again.
And while my baby isn’t nearly old enough to know better, I am. And yet still, like a dog to his vomit, I return.
And I hurt myself.
And God cries.
He wants me to live well. To not only enjoy the life he’s blessed me with to the fullest, but to spread that Godly joy to others. But when I decide to devote my time and effort to my habitual sins, I do neither, and I certainly don’t grow any wiser.
Regardless of our age, we’re all still learning to walk. Specifically, to walk the walk of Christ. To walk in a way that matches our talk. To walk in righteousness. And it’s not always easy. And we’ll never be great at it. We will fall. Over and over and over again.
But it’s a necessary part of the process. Fall down, but get back up, and try to learn from it. And trust God when he is trying to keep you away from the dangerous areas of the world around you.