Esther’s husband died when their son Lawrence was very young, leaving her devastated and worried at the prospect of life without their breadwinner. She didn’t know how to read or write so her job opportunities were limited. Finally, she found work as a cook at a primary school while a neighbor watched the small boy.
While Esther was able to earn enough money to buy the most necessary things, she had one significant shortcoming. She did not really love little Lawrence and therefore, he grew up without any affection. He was not hungry, but his heart was hungry for the love of his mother which he never experienced.
Lawrence was more or less on his own. Even when he went to school he experienced the lack of guidance from his mom. He was used to getting himself ready in the morning. He had been doing it for years without help and although he wasn’t sure he did it very well, he did the best he could. Sometimes he arrived at school only to be met by the teasing of other kids as they laughed about his dirty face or that his shirt was inside-out. It hurt and he tried to do better, but he often failed.
One morning, Lawrence and his mother walked to the Life Center that was held at their local church. He went off to class, while Esther headed towards some of the other mothers sitting under a tree to chat with them. However, on this particular day, the lesson seemed louder than usual.
A few of the words caught Esther’s attention and she decided to slip away for a few minutes and listen in. Walking over to the classroom, she stood quietly outside the doorway where she knew she would not be seen. The character trait of “love” was being discussed. Esther’s heart was especially stirred by the definition of “agape” love.
The teacher explained, “Agape love is a selfless, sacrificial and unconditional type of love. It perfectly describes the kind of love Jesus had for his Father and for us. So we, in this same way, are also challenged to love others sacrificially just as Christ did.”
Esther was so moved by what she heard. She was suddenly struck with the thought that she had not been showing this agape love to her son. “How did this happen?” she wondered. She remembered the sweet baby he was and how she felt when he was first placed in her arms. Life had moved on and hardships had come their way. All at once, she realized how she had forced Lawrence into a role that he had been too young to bear, and how her distance had made him feel unloved.
That day as they walked home, Esther told her son about the lesson she had heard in his class and that she wanted to make a change in how things had been between them. Lawrence smiled as his mom put her arm around him. They didn’t speak much on their walk home, they didn’t need to. The hope they had for their improved relationship was beyond words. Sometimes you don’t need words. Sometimes, all you need is a second chance.
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