A doctor was helping a woman give birth to her fifth child. Her four previous births had been at home, but this had been a difficult pregnancy, so he suggested that she give birth in a hospital this time around. Thankfully, the birth went well. As the doctor cleaned up the baby, he couldn’t help but notice that the child was one of the ugliest babies that he had ever seen. He put extra baby powder on the newborn, figuring that if the baby wasn’t cute, at least he would smell good! He then nervously placed the baby in his mother’s arms. As the mother excitedly held her child, her immediate reaction was, “Isn’t he the most beautiful baby ever!”
My spiritual director recently shared that story with me to illustrate the power of a mother’s love. It has been said that love is blind. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that it is only through the eyes of love that we truly see. Love enables us to see the beauty that lies beneath the surface, that which might not be readily visible to others. Love allows one to see all the potential present in another person. While true love still sees the faults in another, it also is willing to see past them. Love is able to see the growth possible, the ability for a person to be all that God has made him or her to be.
Without the gift of being loved, a person may never come to know the beauty that exists within him or her. Every person should have the experience of being loved unconditionally by someone. Ideally, that first experience of love comes from one’s parents. Like the mother in the story above, we should wrap our children in that gift of love.
Mothers know their children better than anyone else. We see their faults. We see their limitations. We see the unflattering reflections of our own behavior. Sometimes, we can be so quick to criticize. Yes, it is part of our job to correct our children’s behavior. Yet, with a full measure of love in our hearts, it is more important that we see the beauty in them. We need to point out all the good in them so that they will see themselves as good, strong, capable people who are loved, not only by us, but by God. To a child, a parent’s love is a reflection of God’s love. Without the one, it is very hard for them to grasp and appreciate the other. Without being loved, a child will have a very difficult time learning to love others.
The same holds true in the other relationships in our lives. Everyone needs love. Everyone needs people who believe in them, who can see beyond the messiness of life and see them the way God sees them. Each day, we have the opportunity to reflect God’s love to those we come in contact with. We can see the beauty within them and appreciate them. We can help them be the best they can be. Only love has the power to see the true beauty of another person.