Fierce Love


I’m not a violent person. In fact, when I was studying method acting in college—the tap-into-your-feelings approach made famous by Brando and De Niro—I had difficulty inhabiting a particularly violent role because I’d never felt the desire to hurt anyone. My theatre teacher accused me of lying: “Everyone’s felt like killing somebody!”

But I honestly hadn’t.

A decade and a half passed and I found myself in the throes of first-time fatherhood. Until then I’d paid very little attention to children, except the sweetly sanitized ones or the artfully abrasive ones—I frequently had to suppress the urge to shout, “Control your kid, lady!” Babies? Nah. As far as I was concerned, they all looked like Winston Churchill. Give me a puppy any day.

Then came my baby. And I fell hopelessly in love. Mandy looked nothing like the Prime Minister. She was, in fact, the most perfect thing I’d ever seen. A bunch of time-release dad genes clicked on all at once, and I lit up like a runway at Chicago O’Hare. Two months after she was born, I guest spoke at a mountain retreat in Georgia. That night, while we were sitting around a campfire, someone asked, “What’s on your mind?” And like an unexpected sneeze, I blurted, “I miss my baby!” and began to sob.

A year or so later, I was teaching college theatre and we’d begun to delve into method acting. One of my students asked how I would approach a particularly violent role. I was about to give my standard “I’ve-never-had-those-feelings” response when the image of someone molesting my child flashed through my mind. The words knotted up in my throat and my hands began to shake. Because what had immediately accompanied the first image was a second image of me slowly roasting the molester over that campfire in Georgia.

I was never the same after that. Not only did I have a second, miraculously perfect baby (Bethy), but other people’s children began to improve considerably. Each had a face shaped like hope. And a name. And an exquisite spirit. There were, I suddenly realized, exactly as many souls in the universe as there were persons. And every one of them had a father. And even if some had never felt the love of their father, each was loved by the ultimate Father, the one the rest of us are modelled on.

So who are we to love them less?

Parenthood doesn’t make us violent. But it does make us fierce. And fiercefully forgiving. Or it should. (Mentoring has the same effect, by the way, so even if you’re not an official parent, you’re signed up for the course). If it hasn’t had that effect on you, have a look under the hood and see if some cheap knock-off parts have been installed in place of the ones from the Manufacturer. Then institute immediate repairs and get back to learning how to love.


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Fierce Love

  1. Parenting brings out the protector in all of us. Sometimes that is fierce and at other times we gently nudge our children to safety until the danger passes. Good story, Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For parents, their children are the most beautiful faces in whole wide world.But we children, often forget to tell our parents that they are our most favorite faces, most adorable.
    It’s beautiful. I am glad I got to read it. ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rhonda says:

    “Each had a face shaped like hope”. What a beautiful line.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful! I love this. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Edward says:

    Wow you covered so much in so few words here Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Quirky Girl says:

    I used to feel the exact same way! I didn’t particularly care one way or the other about what I had perceived as crazy little monsters…until the day I laid eyes on my firstborn son. Suddenly, the world seemed like a much better place, full of joy and hope and possibilities. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. notesfromthewalk says:

    This is a really good one, Mitch.–E.R.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The verse “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” — I never truly understood it until I had kids. I’d give my life for them in a heartbeat, but have I felt that same love for anyone else? Yet that’s the kind of love we’re offered, and the kind we’re asked to model.
    Great post Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Another brilliant post, Mitch. You are so right about the attitude adjustment our own children make in our lives. We can never know how hard parenting is until we experience it ourselves. On the other side of the coin, we can never know the ferocity of parental love until that little one is placed in our arms. And to think our Heavenly Father loves us even more?! Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    Isn’t it awesome how things kick in at the right time? The Lord knew how to deepen you with a child and your view of a once minsunderstood group changed. I hope you have more and more deepenings. I am going through one right now. He knows.



    Liked by 1 person

  11. markrickerby says:

    This is some great writing, Mitch. I’m the father of two girls, three and six, so I know EXACTLY what you mean. I know a great dad when I read one. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Oh yeah, I get this Mitch… with my kids, and now with my grandkids. Anyone hurts those babes and… well, you don’t want to know! 😤

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You really have a golden touch expressing yourself. Thank you! Very refreshing. Also, Thanks for the follow.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. TMH says:

    My favorite line: “Each had a face shaped like hope.”

    Liked by 1 person

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  16. I am Aranab says:

    Being a parent is so tough and comes with no hard and fast rules or manuals. We as children think our parents are perfect and have all the answers and forget to treat anything like human because we believe they are on top of everything and leads to our unexpected expectations from them which when they do not live up to we start abusing them. Being a parent should come with a prize and governments should do more to help parents from kids like us.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Pingback: My Top Blog Posts of 2017 | Mitch Teemley

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