“Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you.” Isaiah 49:15
I won’t ever forget how you looked at me the day I learned to fly. With the same enchanted awe of a mother that caresses her baby for the first time and can’t take her eyes off of the miracle before her. I was a miracle for you, like that blade of grass that unexpectedly breaks through just barely at the margins of asphalt. I know that it was you who took me by the hand and raised me up from the ground. You helped me to unfold my wings, even if you knew that I would have been able to fly far from you. But I didn’t do it, because I am your daughter. And in recognizing myself as your daughter I tasted for the first time the word “Father”. I murmured it for the first time amongst the murmurs of the buds that opened on the trees and a sound returned to me that I had never heard before, a sound like the first word of a baby.
But too many children won’t have the chance to speak. They are crying out and no one listens. One day, you know, I found myself alone in the woods, as small as a baby tree, and I looked around with shining eyes in the midst of trees of great height, spectrums of infinite stories, and I too began to cry out: “Daddy! Daddy!” My daddy arrived as if from the sky and took me by the hand back to the path. But for some children there won’t be a single tear shed, a single hug, or a path to walk in autumn, dragging feet to disturb the wet leaves. Because they are born like that seed fallen on asphalt, where it wouldn’t have wanted to fall. The blade that broke through this morning will be first suffocated by desperate selfishness and then uprooted from the earth.
Here’s why they now cry out their silent cry, and here is why I now cry to you: Father, why did you abandon them? Why do seeds of death flourish where you gave life with infinite love? Can the eyes of a mother not contemplate with the joy the life just created, at least a spark of the joy that you experience?
You are a Mother! I discovered it when you had the courage to take me up in your arms and to make me start anew after I had fallen. It was like returning to my mom with skinned knees, after promising to go slowly on the bicycle, and finding her smile. Or like returning home in the evening an hour late and discovering that she had stayed awake to wait for me and give me a hug.
But if you are a Mother, you too must have eyes marked with tears. You too must have passed hours wondering why your son doesn’t confide in you any longer, hours trying to think of solutions that never calm your worries, hours spent awake to cure his illnesses, hours crying in the silence of an empty house. I can’t imagine how alone a mother must be, beginning with those beautiful nine months that change here life; alone in the silent and loving conversation with her child while no one at her side can share her joys and her fears.
You tell me how desperate and alone a mother must be who chooses to not look her child in the eyes and to not worry herself at his first tears. Forgive her, perhaps she really knows not what she does. And in the pain that I have inside for those lives that will never be lived, I ask you to be close to that woman and to not let her forget the cry of her child that is the cry of every innocent. I look to you, that you might teach how to be father and mother in the pain, in poverty, in war, in the nonsense of this society of death.
But before me, life opens and it is this that I want to search for. I find it step by step working my way up the hill with you, where I see again the woods of many years ago that now is so small and familiar. Each tree has its story and I seem to know it, as I know every child that has hung from its branches. The shoots this year broke through in the shade of an oak, and no sun can dry them and no hand in the face of their splendid fragility will dare to pull them up.
The way up is sweet, but brings with it the weight of that anxiety, of those fears, of those nights to come. It bring s with it the weight of those sacrifices of mother and father, of those tears that I don’t know but that you collect and dry from their faces.
– It isn’t a weight – you say to me. And what is it then? Is it only dark side that accompanies the joy of seeing me grow day by day, together with the height marks drawn on the kitchen wall? Is it the true meaning of being a father and mother? I don’t know, but I begin to sense the scent of heaven. I reached the top of the hill and now the moment that I awaited has arrived. I am afraid and I search for your hand, but it is already there to squeeze mine. Before me, open horizons. It is my life that is waiting for me, and I want to live it more than to the fullest, for those that aren’t allowed to be born. And wherever I go I will teach life and attempt the challenge of forgiveness.
I have a great weight inside, the tears form trench lines on my face… What is it then?
You respond to me with infinite tenderness:
– It is only love.
Love! Because to give life is to allow to fly.
Now I am ready.
– You will be with me, right?
– And how could I leave you? I am your Father!
And I love you. You are father and mother, yesterday, today, and always.