Standing on the precipice of summer reminds me why there’s no shame in buying a few band-aids here and there. Truth be told, I’m not much of a band-aid believer. When it comes to bumps and bruises, I’m more of a pretend I didn’t see, wait a few minutes, and hope my babies get over it on their own. I visit doctors as rarely as humanly possible and I will err on the side of sorry nine out of every ten times other mommies err on the side of safe. I have three little girls 9, 6, and 5, and we’ve been the ER exactly once since they’ve existed.
Perhaps it’s because there’s not a nurturing bone in my body. Or maybe my kids are just careful. But I like to think it’s because I refuse to get worked up over the small stuff. My goal is to raise strong, independent, drama-free children. I usually don’t carry band-aids commando style on my person – or even in my purse. As strange as it may seem to, well, every other mom other there, I scarcely bat an eye when my babies get a little banged up.
Right now, if you’re contemplating adoption and how you might go about obtaining custody of these three poor little orphans, you can stop reading now. You already get what I’m about to say. For those of you who think like me, though, please read on.
The sound of screaming outside caught me in mid-sweep inside the kitchen. My Maylee, 5, screams more than a Steeler fan at the Superbowl. Just ask the neighbors. But this was not that. I could hear her pain from inside the house. I ran out to check on her and found her trying to get up from the concrete she’d just tripped on. She had fallen and caught the corner of a stone on her knee. Shake-it-off-and-drive-on-soldier mommy uncharacteristically picked up up and carried her inside. I laid her on my bed and held her while she cried.
The very next day, just after I left for work, Maylee decided she would find the biggest knife in the kitchen and cut a whole watermelon by herself. By the time her oldest sister got a hold of me and I made my way back, I found her crying and bleeding once again – only this time she was sure of certain impending death.
“I don’t want to die! I’m sorry mommy! I’m not ready to go to heaven!” she repeated over and over.
I held her in my arms and tried not to chuckle. She was calm in just a very few minutes. No stitches needed. A week later she’s all healed up.
After considering these two painful little episodes, I considered myself and my own pain for a moment. Just like with my kids, I generally never even acknowledge pain unless it’s past a certain level of intensity. I tend to think I have a pretty high pain threshold. But, sometimes, I must cry for help. Now, this is where it gets complicated…
In those times, a little girl needs a…comforter. She doesn’t need a lecture on why she’s too young and inexperienced to cut a watermelon. She has assuredly already figured out how foolish she was. She’s already very sorry. She does not need a few more rules designed to keep her from skipping rocks in flip flops. Skipping rocks is what little girls were made to do. She found out the hard way what kind of shoes she needs to wear. She knows better than anyone else her age why she wants to be careful next time.
She does not need a lecture. She does not need more rules. She does not need more advice. She is not fit for being shamed or punished. Hurting people need comfort. Comfort.
Church, please listen to me. Hurting people need comfort. Whether pain is extrinsic or self-inflicted, we have to start with comfort. We cannot help a hurting world when we begin with lectures. We cannot help a hurting world when we begin with rules. We cannot help a hurting world when we begin with punishment. We cannot help a hurting world when we begin with shame. We cannot help a hurting world when we begin with unsolicited advice. Hurting people need comfort.
My hero – my husband – was worshiping with the kids yesterday and he put a silly song on for them to sing. It’s called, “What if Cartoons Got Saved” by Chris Rice. It’s a cute kids song and it talks about all their favorite characters singing praise to God in their respective cartoon songs. Scooby Doo, the Smurfs, Elmer Fudd, and the Flinstones just to name a few made the cut. The singer got to Beavis and Butthead and stopped. Their picture was X’ed out and he said, “Nah.”
As silly as that song is, my heart sank when I saw that part. Then, I got mad. Stop excluding screw-ups, church! News flash…you’re one of ’em! Stop using band-aids on the babies you’re overprotecting and learn how to wrap your arms around the “really bad” wrongdoers. Teach your children to do the same. Your Savior is our only hope. Hurting people need comfort. Then, after the pain subsides, perhaps we could trust you enough to take your good advice.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. ~John 3:17