My son loves the movie Frozen. He’ll narrate the film for you, and loves imitating the ‘big guys cutting ice’. I think I could recite it in my sleep. I probably have. =) While we watch, every time I hear Elsa say, “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show,” I think of how we use those words to stay safe. What do we lose and miss out on when we use such self-preservation? “Conceal, don’t feel” froze Elsa with fear, made her icily alone and afraid, and those words stole her freedom.
They can do the same to us.
My two-year-old is the sweetest little boy I know. He calls us “mommygirl” and “daddyboy.” Before going to sleep, I make the sign of the cross on his forehead and say a blessing, and now he makes the sign of the cross on my forehead, too. When I say I love you, he responds, “So so soooo much!”
I mean. Seriously.
Then there’s my brand-new baby girl. She is precious, with her crown of dark hair and big eyes and itty bitty toes. When she’s awake, she’s so alert that I just know we’re having real conversations. She is a gift I never expected and still can’t grasp, even while pregnant with her and even while birthing her and even while holding her now.
I sit with these children literally on me, and my heart does the Grinch thing. You know, where his heart grows three sizes and bursts through the box around it, and he gets this smooshy smile on his face? My heart does that, and I swear I can feel it aching with love. My heart grows and beats for my babies.
And yet… I’ve felt a bit reserved with my love lately. Like my heart wants to burst at the seams but for some reason decides to just quiver a little instead. I know fear is creeping in when I don’t lean into my husband as we stand in the kitchen, or hold his smiling gaze for a few seconds too long, or take his hand in the car as it lays on the armrest.
This holding back of love comes from a self-preserving kind of fear that’s debilitating. I reason, I’m too happy. The shoe’s gonna drop. Any day now, something awful will happen. So don’t get too happy, and don’t love with all you’ve got. Just in case. That way it won’t come as such a shock when the awful comes, and you won’t be quite as hurt. Conceal, don’t feel.
Then a day passes without holding my husband’s gaze and hand, with a little more sighing and less laughing with my toddler, with gazing at my phone instead of my daughter while she nurses. All in the name of what if, which is concealing and not feeling at its height.
As a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend – as one who loves at all – we risk greatly when we love. We risk being offended and rejected and hurt, because the flip side of love is fear. But we follow in the steps of the One who took the greatest risk ever in loving us:
God demonstrates His own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners,
Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
What a gamble! He knows how worth it it is to feel a heart grow three sizes, and despite what He may receive from us, He chose to love. He concealed nothing and felt everything. Because of the way He has flipped the sides once and for all, I too may choose to be frozen or free.