The Parent Heart

by Rod Smith

What goes on in your parent heart? I know what goes on in mine, I think.

Mine’s like the furnace – something not usually found in South African houses – in middle of winter. The furnace never turns off. My parent heart (or head) is working, thinking, planning, hoping, watching.

There are times it’s distracted, but it’s never off duty. There are times it’s filled with anxiety and it can feel like it’s tumbling out of control.

There are times love doesn’t always feel like love and feel like something quite different. It can feel like rising anger or a lightning jolt of protection. I see it expressed as I unwittingly scan the surroundings for dangers and potential dangers.

I experience my heart as hoping beyond hope and wanting the seemingly impossible for my sons. I experience it as sometimes ignoring my own needs and placing all things on hold until I know what the boys may need.

My heart (or my head) is constantly shifting through priorities, trying to identify what is crucial from what is necessary to what is mere waste. Sometimes, really only occasionally, it feels broken by a lapse in a son’s integrity or a harsh word or a moment of son-to-son betrayal – but it is thankfully, quick to recover.

Tell me what yours is like – please.

“But there is one thing that has power completely, and that is love. Because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has power.” – Rev. Theophilus Msimangu, Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

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