I birthed him, raised him, loved him. But I always had this feeling that he didn’t belong to me.
I remember when we sat with the minister to plan Charles’ memorial service, and he said, “Our children don’t really belong to us. They pass through us, are part of our families but they are part of something greater.”
I remember thinking how odd it was that he just said what I had spent a lifetime thinking. Of course, we don’t “own” another human being. Our journey is not theirs or visa versa. We cannot control their decisions or take their pain away. We can only love them and guide them if they will let us.
We had this poem printed on back of Charles’ memorial pamphlet. I think it was my friend Martha who suggested it. I think it really does say so much.
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.