Sunday, September 9, 2012

As a child...



I hate it when I hear the familiar child groan in the middle of the night.  I’d love to tell you I hate it because I don’t like when my babies are sick, but I am not nearly evolved enough for that to be my first thought.  Usually my first thought includes dread because I know I have to get out of my warm and comfortable bed to deal with some form of bodily fluid I have no interest in dealing with.  And that is where my story of last week begins.

I took my kids for a Disney mini vacation last weekend as one last trip before school started back up.  We had a wonderful 3 days and I am grateful for the memories... at least for most of them.  Word for the wise though... don’t pump your kids full of sugar they don’t usually eat, add chlorine water and then top it with over-excitement, because that is a recipe for the middle of the night child groan.  I know I just stated the obvious, but maybe if I repeat it enough I won’t ever do it again.

So the groan came, then the unwanted fluids flowed, and then the giant mess began, all while my sweet boy was still mostly asleep.  Poor kid.  He only became conscious as he was sitting in the bathroom, in the middle of the mess, listening to my multiple step directions so the mess didn’t get any bigger than absolutely necessary.  He was such a trooper with it all though.  Once I was able to convince him my directions were actually helpful for him, he became more willing to trust me.  I could not allow him to make the choices in the situation... for that would have made everything worse, but I needed to give him some control, and the simple gift of choice is exactly what worked to calm him down.  

When he was all clean and dressed in new “vacation pj’s” (big brother’s shirt and the just in case sweat pants I packed) he crawled into his hotel bed to go back to sleep.  As I was tucking him in, he looked up at me with the most endearing look I have ever experienced, and he said, “Thank you mommy.”  What kid is able to be grateful right after such an ordeal and have it be unprompted?  My momma heart swelled and I told him I loved him and to sleep well.  As I crawled back into bed, I found myself being filled with gratitude for my third born.  He embodied wholeness for me that I often feel stays just out of reach as I try to grow.  My son intuitively understands what Jesus spent a lot of earthly time trying to teach us...to rest, to follow, to be grateful.  Jesus implored us to come to him as little children and to take refuge in relationship with him.  I think one of many reasons he desires us to shed our grown up costume, is that a child has the ability to trust in the midst of life’s mess and once the mess is cleared a child’s heart can repair much faster than our hearts do as adults.

I think it is quite common for us adults to find ourselves waking up in the middle of a mess that we didn’t see coming.  Sometimes we have created the mess all on our own, and sometimes life hands us the mess.  I know for me, the biggest struggle is to trust that God’s directives are actually there to help me out of my mess.  I struggle to believe that if I just lean into the relationship and follow, I will be restored.  I fight the care I’m offered and in the process often find myself dejected and exhausted.  If only I could have the sort of humility and gratefulness my son showed on that night.  Watching him navigate that situation inspired me to be more like him when I find myself in yet another mess.  May I remember to trust that God’s suggestions are there as a guide for me to get through the mess, and that I have been given the gift of choice.  I choose to follow or not, and it's meant to calm me.  May I also understand that when I have gone my own way, there is always a steady voice inviting me to follow once more.  Might I have enough thankfulness in my heart to look up and give my gratitude... right there in the moment.

We adults make life too difficult.  We have lost faith, we have lost innocence.  Children get faith, they embody innocence, and they point us towards wholeness.  May you share some time with a child soon... childhood joy is contagious.


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