In that split second as she cradles the baby in her arms, she will try to compress a lifetime’s worth of love, infusing it into the very marrow of his being so he would never have to go through life unloved. She will pray with every fiber of her soul to wrap him in a shield of this love that will protect him from all the pain that this world is so abundant with, and from the profound deficiency of one day having to carry on without a mother at his side.
She will yearn to imprint the tenderness of her embrace, a touch that heals, the kisses that bring bouts of mirthful laughter, the cuddle that feels like home, the safest place on earth — she will beg that this could somehow be allowed to stay with him forever, that he should never have to know a life without these foundations without which no human being can ever be whole.
How many budding destinies are being charged with the intensity of this prayer at this very moment? “I birthed you to love you, my baby. May you always be loved. This world is yours, I give you this world, may it fulfill you, and may it be enough.” How many such seeds are being sown tenderly into the pure soil of children’s malleable hearts, forming a perfect eager imprint to this stamp of maternal imperative in order to sprout one day into a firm and confident: “I was born to be loved. This world is mine to reap. I need to receive love.”
There is no force as fierce and no prayer as all-encompassing as that of a mother toward her child. What most do not know is that this prayer indeed never goes unanswered. Nothing in creation can hold up against the urgent insistence of a mother’s love.
… except for a prayer of a different mother.
Inevitably the child grows up, and the infinity of his parents’ affection becomes too small for his expanded yearnings. He leaves his childhood home and steps out into the great beyond of the seductive, beckoning unknown. What path lies in store for him? What role was prepared for him to play out on the worldly stage? What great summits await their conqueror?
Of all the journeys that he will embark on there is one that will continue to pull him most relentlessly, one that burrows deepest into his heart: the search, within this vast new world, for a feeling like a mother’s unconditional love.
He will travel far and wide, overcoming many challenges, rising to unknown heights, and exerting untold efforts, all in the hope of finding again that tremendous love of long ago, the love that looks upon him with eyes that see no flaws, the love that keeps him safe, the love with a singular driving force of guarding his happiness at every step. The seed that was planted in him keeps growing, it urges him with an ever-booming voice: “I need to be loved. I deserve to receive love.”
He pushes forward, shrouded in the shield of his mother’s prayer, and his secret void, buried deep inside, accompanies him everywhere he goes. Sometimes, emboldened by a glimmer of trust, he brings it forth as an offering to another with trusting, outstretched hands — “Fill it, I have longed for this for so long.” And sometimes he even feels a momentary warmth of its fulfillment, but before long it is gone again without a trace.
He grows wary, disappointed, mistrustful. An insidious hardening begins to ossify his secret void from within. Still, the shield of a mother’s love, her protective prayer, never leaves him. As he goes through life, he meets more and more others: they, too, are former children like himself, each with their own protective shields bestowed upon them by their mothers’ bottomless love.
Sometimes their eyes find each other above the scripted motions of their worldly doings, as if seeking and not daring to ask — “Here is my void. See me. Fill it, I have longed for this for so long. I deserve to be loved.”
But instead, spying a rival void in another’s eyes, they both draw back. “This world is mine. It’s my fulfillment to reap. My truth is the only truth. My view — the only view. You must bow down to my will and step out of my path on the journey to love. That love is mine to conquer.”
And so another, perceiving a threat, raises his fist. Reacting to danger, the shroud of a mother’s prayer tightens its vigilance over her child, and it brings forth a knife. The other, guarded likewise by a great love that never tires of praying only for him, draws out a sword. The sword is followed by a gun, a gun by a rifle, a rifle by a cannon, a cannon by a tank, a tank by a bomb… and when all the weapons of the flesh seem to not wound deep enough, they will turn their war inward, directly to the heart: a sharp word, a noxious influence, long-smoldering attrition, a vat of salt into the open wound of a lonely soul’s gnawing emptiness, until the void that is his birthright blessed by a prayer so strong that it never goes unanswered hardens fully, turning to stone.
This is a story as old as time.
For millennia people thought that the greatest battle of our life is a battle between good and evil. What most do not know is that in truth, it is a battle of love against love. There is no force of nature as fierce and no prayer as all-encompassing as that of a mother protecting her child. A prayer of this fortitude indeed never goes unanswered. Nothing in the world can hold up against the urgent insistence of a mother’s love.
A young woman cradles a child, pressing him close to her chest, aware that before long he will have to leave her and enter the great beyond. She is his mother, but she is calm, knowing that she is not the only one. With every fibre of her being, she yearns to nourish and fulfill the tiny person entrusted to her for his development. She knows that it will happen. She will plant a seed into his willing innocent heart that will one day sprout into a firm and confident “I want to be loved, but I am also a source of love. This world is vulnerable like me, and so it is mine to protect and take care of. First, I need to learn what it means to love.”
She does not anxiously try to compress a lifetime’s worth of love into his being, because she knows that at this very moment, somewhere in the world, another mother is planting the same seed into a little girl who will one day become his wife. Yet another, tasked with raising his future friend and confidant, is tenderly guiding him towards the same goal. So many mothers, raising his future colleagues, mentors, writers of his favorite novels and songs, future strangers he will bump into in the grocery store, and even the future president of his country — they are all, in this very moment, nurturing exactly the same seed within these eager, pure, malleable hearts.
They will grow up, shrouded in a shield of One Collective Mother’s prayer, a new generation unlike any that came before it. What journeys await them? What will they discover in this new world that they themselves will build? They will find out soon enough, because nothing in creation can hold up against the power of a prayer borne of the infinity of a mother’s love.