When my mom and dad were together, my world was full.
I was not fearful.
I felt protected.
I loved when we all smiled together. We played at the parks, we flew kites, we jumped the waves in the ocean, we climbed trees in Washington D.C., and we looked out for each other.
If you saw us, if you were walking behind us, you would have seen this great big heart around us, with small hearts above our heads – full, and flashing. That’s how you would’ve known we were a family.
One day, the big heart broke, so the little hearts above our heads were empty.
My dad left.
My mom changed.
I was scared.
I felt like I was out in the middle of the ocean with no boat, nobody nearby to help me, and nothing holding me up. I was just floating, alone, waiting for everything to go back to the way it used to be.
Sometimes my mom would pop up, but her eyes didn’t look at me. She saw me, she made sure I was still alive, and still floating, but the heart above her head was still flashing, still empty.
We left our house behind, and moved to a new house. My dad picked me up every other weekend.
I kept trying to find that big heart that used to surround us. I wanted to fill my mom’s heart up, so it would fill mine again. I was tired of floating, alone.
I tried to make new friends at our new school, but I just felt so… lost. I didn’t think anyone would understand what I was thinking. They all looked like they were swimming laps like pros while I was still out in that ocean trying to figure out how to swim.
My mom started dating someone new, so now she didn’t pop up as much. I wasn’t even sure if she saw me most days. She looked happy, but the heart above her head was still flashing empty.
My dad started dating someone new too. He still picked me up every other weekend. He looked happy too, but the heart above his head was flashing empty too.
Why couldn’t they see me? Why were they acting like their hearts weren’t empty? How could we get back to climbing trees in Washington D.C.? How long could we exist this way?
My questions started screaming at me. The water I was floating in felt bigger, and scarier everyday. I felt like I was running out of air.
“Someone! I need help!,” I yelled, out to the silent sea.
At school, I walked around with my head down. I tried not to let my tears escape, but sometimes they did. I could feel the other kids wondering what was wrong, but I wouldn’t look up. I wouldn’t let anyone in.
I came home from school one day and I noticed that my mom’s heart wasn’t flashing empty. It started filling up, just a little bit more each day. I didn’t know why, or how it was happening, but I loved it because she saw me again. When I asked her what was happening, she told me that God was helping her. She said that God protected us, and provided for us when we were out in that ocean. She said that without God, we would have drowned.
I didn’t see God the way my mom did. I was thankful, (if what she said was true), for the protection.
I’m glad we didn’t drown.
My mom kept changing, a little bit each day. She was becoming the mom I used to know. Her heart was pouring out into mine, and it never seemed to be empty. I couldn’t figure it out – how could she pour so much love into me, but never run out?
When I asked her, she told me… “God’s love for me, and for you, is so big that it never runs out.” She explained that God’s love is like a great big barrel, bursting: “As it bursts, and flows out over me, it is so full that it flows out over you.”
It didn’t make sense to me at first, but as time went on, I felt it. I accepted it.
I still wanted to climb the trees in Washington D.C. with my family and that great big heart around us, but I know that the great big heart is with me even though my mom and dad aren’t together.
I’m not scared anymore.
I feel protected
I am loved.