The Gift in Grief

I realized that I was using my son.
I was using him to feel good about myself.

As he became a teenager, a feeling crept in. I ignored it until I could no longer.  What was this feeling?

In a word, grief. I was grieving the loss of my little boy. Where did he go, that bundle of sunshine that lit me up with a level of loving energy so huge that it could hardly be contained in his little body?

Over the years, when I returned home after being out of town, my son would often greet me with an explosive hug. One time, as I pulled into our driveway, he was standing on the front porch, bursting at the seams with eagerness to greet me. He could barely maintain the smile on his face because he was nearly overcome with tears. When we embraced, I felt wholly cherished and deeply loved.

I miss him now, I thought. I miss the little boy who placed me in the center of his world. I miss those over-the-top reunions in which the expression of his love seemed to make the planet spin.

More precisely, I missed the feelings the little boy evoked in me. It’s a lazy way to feel loved and valued: to rely on someone else to shower me with such feelings, just waiting around for somebody to shine light my way.

What if I want to feel loved now and nobody is around? Or worse, what if somebody expresses non-loving thoughts to me? If I am getting my love from outside of me, then I am at the constant mercy of others. 

The truth is, I could not have recognized the Light that my son radiated in my direction if the Light, the Loving, was not already within me. We cannot see that which is not within us. A gift we give one another is an illumination of our inner world.

Often, we think that something is happening "to" us, or somebody "made" us feel a certain way, but what is really going on is an activation of awareness of thoughts and feelings already within us, even if at a subconscious level. Just as a tuning fork vibrates in the presence of like frequency, we resonate with circumstances that mirror aspects of our inner state.

Thank you, dear son, for giving me the opportunity to remember that the sun shines from within.


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