In all the commotion of Christmas preparation and celebration of the birth of Christ, which is often a time of great joy and peace for many, for some it is a time of heartache, seemingly lost, looking for the love that truly satisfies.
Take the case of Hayden Wright. On December 15th, he was picked up by the cops in Chattanooga, Tennessee, at 1:45 a.m. He was drunk, found wandering the neighborhood in a brown dress, and had stolen 5 Christmas presents from one of his neighbors.
While interesting, what’s most newsworthy is that Hayden is a four year-old boy.
Yes, you read that correctly. Upon first seeing this story, I thought, surely, it must be a joke, something ripped from the pages of The Onion. But reading more closely, I realized this was a deadly serious situation and most certainly heartbreaking. For it is not just important that this happened to little Hayden, but why it happened.
About the time that Hayden was picked up going drag through the neighborhood with a half-finished can of Bud Light in his hand, his mother, April Wright, had woken up in a panic, alarmed that her son was not in the house. She realized that one of the safety devices that was to prevent her kids from leaving the house had been broken, and she feared for the safety of her son. And apparently, this was not Hayden’s first time in trying to get into trouble with the law.
When his mother April was questioned as to why Hayden got out of the house, she responded: “He runs away trying to find his father…He wants to get in trouble so he can go to jail because that’s where his daddy is.” While this story turned out alright, as Hayden is OK and child services is allowing him to remain with his mother, I believe that this event can serve as a small window into the bigger picture of our culture.
I believe little Hayden is just like all of us. All we want to do is find our Daddy. We’re all looking for our Father. If he’s not in the house, we’re going to try and go looking for him. It doesn’t matter if there are locks on all the doors, we’ll break through them if we have to.
The problem is not the fact that we are desiring to be with our Father. The problem is that we often times don’t realize exactly that we’re really looking for Him, and thus we will often do seemingly insane (literally: out of our mind) things to try and get what we’re really looking for.
I think Bono said it right: so many of us still haven’t found what we’re looking for.
And what is it that we really want? What is the thing that drives us most crazy, what is it that is found (in various distorted forms) in all of our movies, television shows, magazines, billboards, etc.?
Love! As the Scriptures tell us, “God is love” (1 John 1:1), and God along with being Son and Spirit, is Father. He truly desires what is best for us and wants us to come to participate in His own divine Life (cf. 2 Pet 1:4).
Certainly, some have grown up with their father in the home. And some reading this may have had spectacular fathers who have faithfully raised them and their siblings.
Yet sadly, those with attentive, loving fathers have been far and few between. We are living in a society that is, by and large, fatherless. The situation of Hayden is not uncommon, and many of the boys growing up learn what it means to be a man from their father. And that’s not good news for the rest of us.
For the truth behind masculinity is that every man is called to reveal God the Father. We have a duty to enflesh this mystery of all-encompassing Love. Every man is called to image this Love to everyone he meets, especially his sons and daughters.
If our dad is like Hayden’s father, we’re going to grow up in a world lost, questioning whether love really exists.
And this is the main problem of our culture. As Venerable John Paul the Great said,
Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. (Redemptor Hominis 10)
If we don’t find the real love that satisfies, we will go from one door to the next to the next, trying to satiate this ache in our heart.
Because our sexual desire is so rooted in our search for love, if we have not experienced real love, we will end up using our sexuality in ways that don’t correspond with our dignity, nor will we end up fulfilled. We may end up walking around in drag. We may try to find love in pornography. We may try to be satisfied in the arms of a member of the same sex.
If it is not the real deal, we won’t be satisfied. For our sexuality speaks the language of a total giving and total receiving. If our gift cannot be totally given and received, we will end up frustrated, alone, and ashamed. Like little Hayden, We will “medicate” those wounds with drugs and alcohol and more empty sexual experiences. We will end up doing things that hurt ourselves and others.
So many of us think there is no one who can truly satisfy this thirst inside, and like little Hayden, we aren’t patient, but we break into the hearts of others, stealing the gift that they have not freely offered. Just ask anyone who has had a one-night stand, if they’re truly honest with themselves, they’ll admit that the hope they had for a total life long union has become an empty fantasy.
But the Good News is that Love has come:
“…Someone exists who holds in His hands the destiny of this passing world; Someone who holds the keys to death and the netherworld (cf. Rev 1:18); Someone who is the Alpha and the Omega of human history (cf. Rev. 22:13) –be it the individual or collective history. And this Someone is Love (f. 1 Jn 4:8, 16) – Love that became man, Love crucified and risen, Love unceasingly present among men…He alone can give the ultimate assurance when He says “Be not afraid!” (JPG, Crossing the Threshold of Love, 222)
Thus at the1:45 a.m. searches in our own life, let us be not afraid and come to the One who can bring us to the arms of our Father.
This article originally appeared on tob.catholicexchange.com