See with clarity

She had her first daughter at the beginning of the pandemic two years ago. It was a new experience for her, to be sure, to create a safe, warm home for another human being. During those first days, she fell in love with little Marcelline and found a new, deeper love for her husband Evan.

But another epiphany was to come. New mom Rachel Stevens writes:

“When my mother came out to help us for four months, I saw her love in a new way too. She never once got frustrated with Marcelline, who cried and cried as my mother held her close and sang to her. When Marcelline fell asleep, my mother asked for a pillow so she could prop the arm holding up my sleeping baby’s head. Then they sat there and rocked for hours.

“’You did this for me?’ I asked.

“She nodded and smiled. I don’t remember my reply, but I’m sure I was crying. I was crying a lot during this time. I was my mother’s first child, so she couldn’t help but giggle through my freak-outs and hold me tighter through my legitimate worries. She had learned with me, and now I learned from her . . . ”

We all have “splinters” — and maybe a “beam” — that obstructs our vision. Self-centeredness, greed and ambition can make us blind to the pain we inflict on others and the injustice we perpetuate. But more often than not, we suffer from a “splinter” of fear in a given moment that disables our ability to realize the help that is available to us through the generosity of others. Those “splinters” can become major obstructions in our failure to express gratitude, to respond to such generosity in kind. Many of us can identify with this new mother and what she learns about love and parenting from her own mom. Jesus challenges all who would be his followers to dare to remove from our own eyes the “wooden beams” that limit our vision to our own immediate concerns in order to see with clarity and peace the love of God in our midst.