We find ourselves in the midst of what the church calls “Holy Week,” a time set aside to remember and reflect on the suffering of Jesus.
Symbols of that sacrifice abound: a cross raised to the heavens; nails and the scarred hands in which they found rest; a crown of thorns, a tomb sealed by a stone. Movies like “The Passion of the Christ” allow us to see in computer-generated, graphic detail the horrors of his sufferings. We cringe as we can almost feel his pain.
As a parent, on occasion I have suffered and sacrificed for my children. Many times the sufferings have been financial — a vacation given up, another used car instead of a new one, a savings account unable to grow. Sometimes it has been physical — asthma and allergies to cats, dogs and fingernail polish, nights without sleep waiting for dates to end or throw-ups to cease. And let’s not even discuss the mental, emotional and spiritual sacrifices that often come stapled to the label “parent.”
I am blessed to have children who understand the sacrifices I have made. On too many occasions to remember, before they would go to bed, they would parade into the family room and stand before me with important things on their minds.
“Oh great Father in the La-Z-Boy, we are so blessed that thou hath sacrificed for us. We do not deserve your grace and generosity. We stand in awe of your goodness.”
While it is nice to be appreciated, truth be told I would not want them to say things like that. The reason I have sacrificed for my children is because I love them. When I see them, my heart is flooded with happiness. I am proud of who they are and what they have become. I find joy in their lives, in being their father. I would sacrifice it all again and even more.