An Advent of Faults, Freckles and Frailties
Fully human. It's something we realize we are and yet at the same time don't want to be. We're human beings, which in my definition is: a soul all wrapped up together in a nice, yet sloppy, emotional and unorganized package that is some days seemingly all tears, shin splints, coughs and knee pain.
We tend to forget that 'being human' is okay. When we make mistakes or have errors in judgment, we chalk it up to being human, with a shrug of the shoulders. What else can we do? We're just human. Or, in other words: full of error, imperfections, love and kindness, with more than a touch of realness that can't quite be defined any other way.
It's a pro and a con, this human business; this living life the fullest we can with all these faults, freckles and frailties. It's an unfortunate side effect of the condition.
And boy did I have an education in being fully, totally aware and immersed in the human business last week.
My kids were sick.
And as any parent knows, sick kids are a challenging emotional and physical load. And a venture into very raw, real humanness that takes your breath away, both positively and negatively, depending upon just what type of sickness you're dealing with and how all that plays out in the physical symptoms. They were sick-sick, the kind of sick that takes captives and puts you on house arrest for a week.
In our house it was runny noses times ten, coughs, germs, yucky gunk, clangy coughs and all other sorts of things I’ll be polite about, not going into detail, just in case you're say, eating lunch.
It was the kind of sickness that had tangible telltale signs – my hands raw and split from constant washing, kids' tired red-tinged eyes, lots of tears and tantrums, and the most obvious sign of how sick they were: deep knee-shaped imprints on the carpet by our bed; signs of how much we all needed healing, a savior. Although I wasn't sick (prayers inserted here that I stay well) dealing with sick kids, well, you need just as many (if not more) prayers for your own health and sanity.
It was the kind of sick that made us all feel bad in varying degrees.
They were the kind of days that my son expressed so eloquently and clearly in his behavior on Tuesday: while being burped, he proceeded to spit up, take a expatriated shaky deep sigh and then just turned his head and fell asleep in the burp rag. Yep. It was about 4-and-a-half of those kinds of days. The kind we're all too familiar with here on earth, in this jumpsuit of emotions, nerves and soul we call being human. Sometimes it's not pretty.
We went to the pediatrician 4 times – 4 different times and 2 times in one day. My older child had never had so many lollipops or stickers, and I knew it was getting serious when she was excited to go to the pediatrician, previously known as The Evil Shot Giver. I also silently thought to myself it would possibly be easier to just add the pediatrician's office to direct deposit from my paycheck.
And each time we went to the doctor, the prognosis seemed to get worse.
I, being the controlling sort of human I am, wanted answers. I wanted results. I wanted proof that something could work, something would work, and some medication out there should work, right? I would love to say I was calm about this and trusting, but it was the sort of sickness experience that for me as a mom shook things up, most of all in who and where I place my faith and trust.
More than anything, I wanted proof that I was doing it right, helping my kids heal. I wanted proof and guarantees written in stone. Proof that medicine works; proof that it's 99% effective, that I don't have to worry. I wanted a tangible something that I could hold in my hands, that would reassure me that everyone would be okay, something solid, calming and cool, like a stone run smooth by a river.
But that's not how it works, I was quickly reminded. The proof I needed I found through many prayers, tears, and words of worry breathlessly said by my bed, in my car, woven in my sighs as I tucked them in with silent tears I dared not drop on their sweet sleeping fevered foreheads.
In this fully human world we live in, we are guaranteed nothing, not even wellness, not even health.
Promises get broken, some things can't fixed, people fail us, buildings that are supposedly earthquake-proof crumble under their own weight, medicines sometimes don't work and not all boo-boos can be kissed away.
This week I was reminded how we work so hard to build and construct our lives in a way that we never have to feel out of control; we construct such great walls, buildings, and boundaries that we don't need a savior. We actually don't need anything or anyone at all, we believe some days. And this week I was quickly reminded of how much we don't have control over.
We even tend forget that our savior came in our own familiar bittersweet package of this human condition.
Even though we know the truth about ourselves, we remain bullheadedly convinced that we don't need anyone to help us or remind us of who exactly we are. And we clearly don't need a savior we tell ourselves with such attitude, like a toddler fighting a much-needed nap.
And yet. And yet. We live as though we're invincible, convincing ourselves through our choices and life insurance that we don't need God, that we aren't the ones who need saving.
The riskiest thing we could do for our lives, health, social standing, and finances we tell ourselves, is believe. Is put all of our trust in one who, for all we know, is really just playing some cosmic karma game that we think will come back to bite us somehow.
The riskiest thing I could do was trust God in the end, in it all, and not just the pediatrician.
Sometimes we make the decision not to trust, like an animal with a broken leg. We would rather seethe and growl our way through life, not putting our full trust or weight on that leg or God. We would rather live in the pain and hope it gets better. We become bitter animals, the ones that cannot see beyond our own broken legs of hidden dreams, feuds and un-forgiveness that we cannot fathom the health and healing soon to come.
But deeper down somewhere, hidden under the longings, the hurt and the carton of ice cream, we know we can trust Him.
We know that He came here for a reason. And came to us, just like us: full of follies and heart-breaking love.
And friends though we fight it, we know that we can fully trust Him.