Tears, like precious jewels
I see a single tear fall down his downy check, this salty leak breaking through the boundary of body; an emotion shed into the world outside. I wipe it, moisture smearing across my thumbprint. The uniqueness of me touching the vulnerability of him. He turns away from me, defensive. His barely five year old soul clutches into self-protection, pushing me out, turning it all inward. The tears cease but I know the saline still runs strong on the inside drowning him slowly - a lifetime of drowning slowly, struggling to find air. I feel it myself, the struggle and gasp only to find myself sinking again. Over and over. I know this story well. I know the breaking on the inside while the skin keeps what's in, in, and what's out, out, like an impermeable sheath. Life can't get out and life can't get in. We get loved for what we become on the outside and gradually, over time, we begin to doubt that the very essence, the very uniqueness of us, is lovable.
We fear that we would lie naked if we became authentically real. We would be too exposed. Vulnerable.
I want to hold my son's gaze in love. I wish I could stamp love on his heart - get it inside of him. Inwardly I cry out, "No!" Not the barriers, not the shutting out and shutting down. Let there be no fear. For there is no fear in love and yet somehow, somewhere he has stopped feeling loved. He doubts me. It pains me.
I look at him and I can still see all the glory that he is. It was right there in that tear that left him. His tears are so precious to me - a brief eruption of what's within. They are an expression of him allowing himself to be known, even if just for a minute.
Gently, I press the key into his soul for only he can choose to have his heart unlocked. "Isaac, I love you. There is nothing that you can ever do that will stop me loving you. I would never change anything about you because you are perfect just the way you are."
I let the words hang in the air, weighty, dissipating all doubt.