My kids have been sick for the last five days. Ella started with an earache last Tuesday, then came the a non-stop runny nose, cough, sore throat etc. Time to break out the tissues, popsicles and Tylenol. Claire’s symptoms started Saturday night. Ah the joys of sharing in family life. If only they’d share their toys as well.
So far Scott and I have managed to avoid getting sick. We’re just exhausted from having the girls slip into our room at night and keep us up with their sneezing, wheezing and snoring. [Ella is even out-snoring her dad. No small feat!]
So everybody is tired in the Simmon’s household this week (and the week has just begun!). Of course, it’s all just part of parenthood and I know I’m not alone.
One of my good friends spent most of her nights last week awake with her newborn, first at home and then later in the hospital. In her exhaustion she found herself frustrated by her son’s constant crying. Then God reminded her that the little guy is miserable and this is his only way to express it.
I have to admit, Ella’s whining has challenged my patience over the last few days. In those moments I’ve thought about my friends’s reminder from the Lord: “the little guy is miserable and this is his only way of expressing it.” It’s made those whiny moments a little easier and the ones where she climbs into my lap for comfort even sweeter.
My friend’s reminder and my sick kids have made me think more about showing compassion. And I had these thoughts…(actually it’s more like the Holy Spirit planted these thoughts)…
What if I treated everyone who tests my patience with whining, complaining, and neediness with the same compassion that my sick kids need from me?
What if I saw their whining and complaining as a symptom of an illness, pain or woundedness in their soul? How might I respond differently? Would I see with eyes of the heart and offer love and kindness as a soothing balm instead of judging them or avoiding their presence?
Really, aren’t we all like sick kids? Aren’t we all in need of being healed of the wounds and sickness of the flesh? It’s like we have a fleshly flu that lasts year-round. Granted some have been taking their medicine longer. They’ve spent more time in the healing presence of God and they’re more mature in the way they express their discomfort. But, many people are like my friend’s newborn; they’re miserable inside and have no other way of expressing it. Sometimes that expression can be exhausting to put up with and rubs us the wrong way.
If only we could see one another’s irritable behaviors for what they often are: Signs that we are each in need of someone to come along side us and offer compassion, merciful correction and the gentle yet powerful healing love of Jesus.
Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick…I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.”
Who needs your compassion today?