April 3, 2018
As a first-time parent, this Easter season especially pulled on my heartstrings.
Many religions believe in a sovereign Deity; a book; and an after life. According to the Pew Research Center, there were 2.3 billion Christians living in the world in 2015. It’s especially during this spring season of Easter where Christians revere the death and burial of Jesus Christ, and then celebrate His resurrection from the dead three days later, professing that if they believe in Him, they will have eternal life in Heaven.
Easter is celebrated across the world. Millions of families go to church, have a huge brunch, or have Easter egg hunts or a version thereof. The tradition of the White House Easter Egg Roll continues. Throughout the year, some fans hold up signs with the Bible verse John 3:16 during sporting events, such as in football stadium end zones, for example, while even a few athletes wear the verse on their uniforms or on their faces. According to the English Standard Version of the Bible, John 3:16 reads:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
Throughout our getting to know each other, working together, becoming best friends, and right up until the moment I proposed to my wife, I never said those three words: I Love You. After she said YES! on Christmas Eve, December 24, 2015, I told her why:
“To me, saying I Love You means that you’re willing to lay down your life for that person. You shouldn’t say it unless you mean it. I love you. And I will lay down my life for you.” (Open the tweet below to see our progression of engagement celebrations).
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) December 25, 2015
Seven months later, we got married…
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) July 30, 2016
Less than sixteen months later, we gave birth to Myals. Our first child was a boy.
— Kyle Hamstra (@KyleHamstra) November 9, 2017
“When that ‘heartbeat’ is in your hands for the first time, you’ll know immediately how much you’ve never loved something like you love your child. The love your heart feels forces the priorities in your brain to re-shuffle. Get ready! There’s nothing like it.”
As it were four months later, I was literally halfway through reading Bill Ferriter‘s blog Advice on Teaching and Parenting for Kyle Hamstra! when I was told we were leaving for the hospital. Even then, I still couldn’t fully grasp how, as Bill wrote:
“But you are going to be a DAD, now. And that changes everything.”
I understood all of this in theory, of course. But to truly understand THIS kind of love, You Have to Live It.
Because right now, I’m holding our one and only son. I love him. I will lay down my life for him. I love him like I’ve never loved anything else.
It can only be out of my deepest fears, wonder, and awe, then, to fathom just the thought of sacrificing any portion of my son’s well-being to benefit total strangers, incredibly flawed and imperfect like myself. What kind of unconditional love would ever allow for this? Who would do such a thing to their own child? To do something like that would transcend my human understanding. Do you think I would voluntarily let anything bad happen to our one and only son?
Not. On. Your. Life.
Because… I’m a DAD. And that changes everything.
I wonder if any families or parents of students I’ve taught in the last sixteen years felt the same way about their kid(s)? I wish I knew back then what I’m feeling right now.