When What We Love Must Change Flavors
I am a baby person.
I wanted 6-10 kids once upon a time. I notice and obsess over babies’ chubby cheeks. I drool over rolls on baby thighs. It’s a thing. I love fat babies and babies in general.
Early in life, I sought out opportunities to hold babies. I loved baby-sitting, and I loved having a sister born 9 years after me. I loved being her little mother while at home. At church, I always made myself available to help a mom whose baby was needing to be rocked, or walked, or otherwise physically comforted.
The trouble is, I got arthritis. All of the sudden, I would be holding a baby, and it was super painful. I would change my posture and the angle of my spine to accommodate. It just got worse over time. This happened while I had my own babies.
I felt robbed of the joy of holding my baby pain-free. I would often hand my youngest baby to my husband when I was wanting so desperately to hold her myself.
This was the set-up: body vs. good, wholesome desires.
Lame! This brought on a real struggle for quite a while.
Fast forward to now. My youngest is now approaching 9 years of age. I occasionally hold a baby, and when I do I am very aware of my body as I heft, rock, or pick up that baby. The pain is there, but the sting is gone.
What happened was, over the years, I realized that I loved holding babies because I loved babies. I loved chubby babies because of the joy I felt when I saw their rolls and their soft skin. The connection I made was that I didn’t need to hold the babies to enjoy them. I could still love the sights and sounds of them. I could feel joy when I saw them. And if I wanted to count the cost of holding one, I would do it and enjoy every painful minute of it. And if I wanted to feel sad about not being able to hold babies as long as I used to, I allowed it. These are flavor changes.
Now, I love to see cute babies, and I also love to sit pain-free in church. But I’ve also gone to work finding other “flavors” to this love of babies. I use my nurturing energy still, just in a different way. Now I love to talk to other women and men at church and uplift them with a kind word or by showing interest in their lives. I figuratively hold and comfort them in their fragility. I admire their character and uniqueness and see that they are growing up unto God. I witness such incredible examples.
So about that flavor change? For me, in this instance, it’s best displayed in the play on the word “hold.” I no longer hold all the babies, but I do behold God’s children and do my best to appreciate, comfort, and enjoy them. This flavor is sustainable for now, and it brings me immesaurable joy.
(But when I’m resurrected, you just might see me jubilantly holding a baby if there is one to be found.)