Separations and divorces call most urgently for responsible parenting; at least one parent must be ‘adult’ by way of their constant sacrificing for the global needs of the decimated family. It only takes one. But if both parents insist on acting like children, putting their own selfish agendas over harmony—if they both react—then it is hell for the children. And it can only really be cursing that results.
Broken is the family,
Smashed beyond belief,
How do they have hope?
How do they gain relief?
Parents at loggerheads,
Children asking why,
How’s the conflict calmed,
When everything’s always awry?
A parent giving over their will,
Love is now obeyed,
Can somehow afford to be still,
Knowing children’s needs are made.
The imagery of the family going through violent transitions—a passage to a deathly new life—is heartrending for those loved ones and friends close by, not least for the protagonists.
It Takes Just One
Somehow one parent must take charge through an ironical surrender, for love surrenders to protect others over itself. It only takes one, but one at that. In so many broken families not even one adult-behaving parent can be found.
Sure, selfishness will always rear its ugly head in a moment of confused anger. The main thing is the quick restoration of a loving status quo through apology and repentance. And quick restorations are a routine need; the nature of conflict in dysfunctional families is an ebb and flow in an ongoing sense.
If one parent can commit themselves to that high ideal of restoring peace, providing quick restorations, in the spirit of unity, the whole family has a hope.
Ours is the opportunity to be that one; to be the hero or heroine for our children; to provide them with hope and thus a future in the midst of millions of broken families without a skerrick of hope.
A single mother or single father can be both mother and father or father and mother if they have to be. God fills the void making things ‘good enough’, certainly survivable.
Even if we didn’t believe in God, we know that love is of God, and it fills us with the desire, motive and methods to sacrifice for those who cannot fend for themselves.
Faith in a Hope That Cannot Be Seen
This is a biblical truth, and a paradox at that:
When we are in a situation of utter brokenness, the family in disarray, ourselves hurting from the sting of rejection, abuse or neglect, hope is impossible to see, unless we choose by faith to see—that is, to act in hope in the absence of sight.
It takes a lot of faith to have hope enough to sacrifice our selfish need. But God gives us a blessing in that instant when we see the hope return to our children’s eyes. That’s down-payment enough.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.