I have been wearing a different hat this week ... one that doesn't fit as comfortably as the others. I am quite at home in my "House-keepers" hat - as long as dusting or ironing isn't on the list. I can wear my "Chef" hat quite proudly on my head as I toodle around the kitchen creating my latest tasty concoction. I am also quite fond of my "Game Show Host" hat and I'm enjoying this season of, "Let's play a game!"
I am not nearly as comfortable in my "Nurses" hat, however, because it means someone is hurting. And I am, most often, powerless to do anything about it.
My little Ashley was victim to a wasp ambush last week. There she was just minding her own business and zooming around the culdesac when all of a sudden she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the blink of an eye, she was off her bike, screaming, flinging her arms around and jumping up and down. The sort of thing that stops a mommy's heart and sends her running!
After the assault, we discovered a sting her arm, two on her hand and two on her face. The mean little bugger! As I snuggled her on the kitchen bench, trying to ice three different spots with just two hands - and her little breath caught in gasps and muffled sobs - my heart broke. My little ice cubes were no match for her pain and fear. All I could do was hold her, tell her how brave she was and assure her that she was going to be okay. I had no magical wand to bibbity-bobbity-boo her back to being pain-free.
Then there was Aaron. Poor little dude ended up with a doozy sunburn after an awesome day at the pool. Now, several days later, we are still nursing his wounds. His bright red, itty-bitty blistery wounds. He has been so brave to endure my futile attempts to "make it all better". From aloe vera to vinegar to tea bags, he's put up with a lot, but he's yet to experience instant relief.
It broke my heart to hear him crying in the midst of his cool shower, mumbling about not being able to move his arms or sleep on his back or shrug. If only I could summon Madam Pomfrey and get her burn-healing paste or browse through a Hogwart's potions book in order to search out the healing properties of horned slugs.
I know that my kids will be just fine. They come from two parents who survived childhood bee stings and sunburns ... and lived to tell the tale! But that doesn't make it any easier in the midst of it all.
How do you know what to do?
How can you be sure to do more help than harm?
How do you help them to move on from sad to brave and from clingy to bold?
How do you let them cry without allowing them to stay in that "woe is me" hole?
That feeling of helplessness is an uncomfortable place to be, but it is necessary because it moves us out of our self-sufficiency and into a dependence on God.
And being in God's capable hands is the perfect place to be.
I can't say that God speeded the healing process for either of my kids, but He brought peace into the middle of their little season of suffering. In the midst of their pain and His presence, I was able to speak to my kids about God's goodness and His love for them and His ability to make them well again. Then, upon feeling relief, they were able then to put together the promises of God and their healing and see God's fingerprints ... and a little glimpse of God's care for them as the Great Physician.
I hope that this little spell of pain mixed peace will help them to have compassion for others who are suffering. And in this heightened state of compassion, be able to pass on the gift of God's peace to others, too, through prayer and a little extra TLC.
I'm also hopeful that we can steer clear of wasp's nests and remember the importance of sunscreen ... so Mommy can enjoy wearing a different hat for a bit!
Ashley made a full recovery, seemingly overnight. We used apple cider vinegar on her little stings on her arm and hand and were amazed at the speed with which the welts disappeared. By the next morning, you would never have known anything happened. While she cuts a wide path around the scene of the zingy incident, she is back on her bike!
Aaron has moved on from the "can't raise my arms" stage to the "look, Ma, I'm better" stage to the "aaaahhhh ... I'm so itchy!" stage. Poor little dude ... this is a long lesson we are learning. He has swim lessons this week, but from under his new swim shirt, he intends to stay sunburn-free.