Love and Pain

Terrors are to come. The earth
is poisoned with narrow lives.
I think of you. What you will

live through, or perish by, eats
at my heart. What have I done? I
need better answers than there are

to the pain of coming to see
what was done in blindness,
loving what I cannot save. Nor,

your eyes turning toward me,
can I wish your lives unmade
though the pain of them is on me.

Wendell Berry, Openings, 1968

What a hard thing it is to be a parent. What a challenge to allow the child to be free to err, to inflict and experience pain, to suffer. How blind we are, in that we cannot see the future, we cannot prevent what calls to the child out of their destiny.

But how sure I am that I love them and will love them regardless. That they are perfect just as they are, and that my criticisms are based on blindness to that fact.


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