Saturday, August 10, 2013

Miserable, Vomitous Mass

I don't know of anyone who enjoys the stomach flu.
It's awful.
I hate it so much that my reaction is generally the same each time.
I either pray to be immediately healed or pray for imminent death.
Depending on how many hours I'm in, I really don't care which prayer is answered. 
Just put me out of my misery!!
(Can you believe I'm talking about vomiting in this post?)
In the same way, I've always hated when my kids have gotten sick.
It's different, this feeling. 
It's helpless. 
I know the virus has to run it's course, so there's not much I can do except try to make them comfortable between wastebasket deposits.

But here's the thing I've encountered with my boy and the flu.
Ever since I can remember, whenever Braden has been sick with a stomach bug, he says "thank you" for my care after he throws up.
"Thank you."

I'm not kidding.
Cool washcloth on face and neck...
Then before I can even take the receptacle out of the room...
"Thanks so much, Mom."
Every time!

How does he muster the grace?
I can barely keep from driving off a cliff when I'm sick like that, much less have the presence of mind and heart to say "thank you" to someone for wiping the spittle off of my mouth.

I don't know why I was thinking about this today.
But amidst my thoughts, it struck me.
It's at our times of misery that we need to thank our Heavenly Father.
Thank Him for everything.
Every situation.
Healthy or sick...
Rich or poor...
Successful or stagnant...
Life or death.
(That last one's a tough-y, I grant you.)

When I put myself in His place as "parent" and think about the gratitude Brae is able to muster under the most difficult circumstances, I know it means more
It means more to me than when he says "thank you" for, say,
a bowl of ice cream. 
It means more than when he says "thank you" for a gift I've purchased or a reward I've granted. 
It is in its purest form, this grace. 
He's thanking me for caring. 
He's thanking me for standing beside him when things are rough. 
He's thanking me for not turning and running as I really want to when I can't fix something. 
It's as though he inherently knows how difficult it is to watch my children suffer...that I am sacrificing my own emotional comfort to be there. 
But everyone - especially our precious, dependent children - needs support when they are at their lowest, in their times of human suffering...
So I stay and wipe and comfort and dispose of the sick and the waste.

The lesson strikes in that final realization.

Imagine that if I...
in my very small human way...
in my limited by time and space and earthly feelings way...
in my terminally dense and slow to comprehend way...
if I feel so gratified by Braden's act of grace,
how much more does our Father in Heaven feel gratified by my thanks in the toughest times? 

I can barely fathom. 

Because it must mean more, you know? 
For life is hard and it hurts. 
And He hurts with us. 
But He stays with us, walking beside us - nay, carrying us.
He stays and wipes and comforts and disposes of our sick and our waste...
He stays because everyone - especially His precious, dependent children - needs support when they are at their lowest, in their times of human suffering.

Oh, to channel the grace of a child in my most profound misery.
Oh, to absorb this lesson and remember.
Remember to utter that which means so much more when we are suffering.
Remember to simply say "thank you."

Title credit:  One of my favorite quotes from "The Princess Bride." 
Go rent it!

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