How far would I go to care for my son?
This is a thought I have often had during those trembling, earth shattering, lioness raging up in me, crazy love moments where I look at my toddler sleeping in my arms, and wonder if there is ANYTHING I would not do for him.
The story of Les Miserables is gaining quite a bit of popularity right now, and I will say that I have been a fan for years. It became my favorite piece of literature as soon as Jean Valjean walked away from the priest’s home with those candlesticks that forever shouted grace to his heart. As soon as I met Fantine, Cosette’s mother, I admired her. She was placed on my shelf of “people who are passionate above calculating”. You've got to give them credit. They do things we would probably never do. Fantine’s love for her daughter, and utter desperation in providing for her, extends further than any other person in literature. She descends to the darkest depths of misery, eventually selling her body in prostitution to scrape together whatever she can to send to Cosette, who lives miles away under the care of less than admirable people. I remember shaking my head at her in disbelief. Does anybody love another person like this?
When I recently revisited the story of Les Miserables in theaters, I didn’t just admire Fantine this time. I understood. As a mother now, I understood the desperation that would bring a mother to such sacrifice. I understood the kind of love it takes to live for years without your child, but still care for them with every breath you take. I understood how some people (Fantine in mind) summon up the notion to do crazy things for their children. This crazy love is a gift that Fantine pours out on Cosette, and it’s also one that gives back in greater fold, for as Fantine and Jean Valjean joyously sing at the end, “To love another person is to see the face of God!”
Still, in the day-to-day moments, I am filled with selfishness, and wonder whose ornery kid is destroying my living room. I am often guilty of desiring an orderly day more than the happiness and creativity of a messy toddler. I often love myself so much. That admirable love just seems so very far away because I mother under a roof of relative comfort, ease and safety.
The sad part of it is--there will be broken love in our homes, whether it’s given out of the desperation of a messed up world (as Fantine’s was) or whether it’s given from a heart that simply struggles to love another over self.
The wonderful part of it is? Even broken love gives back to us beyond measure—in the joys of our children and in the beauty of seeing God. Perhaps this is what makes love so crazy after all.