My son started to cry, so I had him crawl onto my lap so I could comfort him. And while I was holding him, he said things like, "I don't want to start all over" and "I want it to be like it was before."
I'm not proud to admit it, but typically in moments like these, I would encourage him to get over it not make a mountain out of a mole hill. (Oh yes, he's well acquainted with that phrase.)
But this time was different.
Because as I held him crying, I could relate to him like never before.
Because I, too, recently had my own life marbles get completely tossed in every direction. Without a warning.
A year ago (almost to the date), I landed in a health crisis that I am still recovering from. Completely unexpected, I began a health decline one day in September, 2010 that started with a trip to the ER, included several more, and then hospital admission. In short, I had lost my strength so much so that my husband had to carry me to the bathroom, and at times, feed me. I didn't understand what was happening (and still really don't), but all I knew was that like my son today, I just wanted things to be like they were before.
So as my son was curled on my lap today crying, I told him that I truly understood how he was feeling. And God brought to mind something that He has been trying to get through my thick skull shown me over the past year, so I shared it with him. That is, that God wants me to focus on the things I still have, instead of all I have lost.
That has often been an incredibly difficult exercise for me, one in which I haven’t always succeeded. At the time this health journey began, my son had just started Kindergarten, and I had already enthusiastically filled out all the volunteer forms to be actively involved in his momentous year. I had also started a Bible study that I was excited about. And I had been asking God how else He wanted me to spend my time while my son was at school (all day). So many exciting opportunities! But never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed that the answer would include being immobile for months on end while I watched my husband carry the weight of the world on his shoulders.
After my son calmed down this afternoon, I had to step away to take a brief phone call. When I returned to my son, he was there at the game board trying to put the marbles back where they had been. But he couldn’t remember where they went, so he kept asking me if I remembered, which was a hopeless cause I didn’t. And a little while later, he asked me if I wanted to play a different game instead. And so together, we picked up all of the marbles, put them back in the box, and got out another game. As we started it, he said, “I’m not sad, anymore, Mommy.” And when I asked him why he thought that was, he said that he was happy about playing Battleship.
You know, I’m so challenged by the way that my son handled his disappointment today because it’s a much-needed reminder of how God lovingly invites me to handle my own disappointments in life.
My Heavenly Father wants me to experience the freedom to crawl up into His lap so that He can comfort me when I need a good cry.
He wants me to know that it's okay to be disappointed.
He also wants me to not lose sight of what I have, even amidst great loss.
But the thing that struck me most about my son’s response this afternoon was that at some point, he stopped trying to pick up the pieces marbles . . .
He stopped trying to get everything back to the way it once was.