By now I could identify the sound in my sleep– mostly because nothing makes a mother fly out of bed in panic faster than the sound of a child about to be sick.
For an hour, like every day around 3:00 pm, I watched Jonathan spiral from a happy and playful 6 year old into the classic symptoms of a migraine. This is indicative of a virus running through his body, amplified by the radiation.
The beautiful moment of comforting my whimpering son, singing and holding my hand on his forehead was shattered by the well-traveled sprint to the bathroom. He looks like a man, bent over the toilet and holding back his beloved tie. The light glares starkly on the red scar dominating his now bald head. He breathes heavily and turns to me, reaching for a hug and saying in his child-like voice, “I’m so sorry, Momma.”
We go back to the couch and I rest with him; his beloved sister Elizabeth Joy arrived 6 days ago exactly as he predicted. I can hold him close to my body now, which I missed desperately when he suffered. I sing to him as he cries and holds my neck. “I’m so sad. It hurts. My brain hurts. It is broken.” Blame the hormones, the nursing, the exhaustion… the tears start and I can’t stop. My eldest and youngest are both crying for me now. My mother brings my redheaded daughter and says, “Hold your baby” with the force of a mother who wants her child to stop hurting.
I was holding my baby. Now I was holding both. I held his head with one hand and nursed her with the other.
Tears. Gagging. Running. Retching. Sobbing.
I can’t get up to him fast enough. My mother runs to her grandson, comforting him masterfully as I stand back, helpless, and yet holding onto Joy. My Redheaded Queen of Joy.
I can’t do it. I can’t do the minimum for each of my children. My mother and father are here and we are still overwhelmed by the care for each child. Each one is sequestered to a different floor to be protected from the others. Jonathan has his den in the downstairs next to the laundry that washes roughly 4-6 loads daily. Elizabeth has the middle floor near the kitchen where we sleep on the comfy couch.
Then there is William the Conqueror. He is not forgotten, despite being a middle child now. Only two years ago it was HIM in the hospital bed fighting cancer. His immune system struggles. This morning I left my daughter at home and wrestled my rash-covered son in the doctor’s office and pharmacy to treat him for a double ear infection, acute tonsillitis and a contagious skin infection.
We arrived home, took medication and quarantined him in his room for 8 hours, showering and Lysol-bathing everything at each entry or handing off of supplies to my father, his Warden-Caregiver.
No Superwoman can handle this. The suffering is excruciating. However, God knows exactly what it feels like to watch his beloved Son suffer as part of a Good Master Plan.
In November 2012 I sat on this couch struggling to nurse William due to this low tone around his mouth. It was 2:00am, quiet and dark. My voice caught as I sang to him, “My God is so big, so awesome and mighty! There’s nothing my God cannot do…” The tears flowed. Many of you have asked what my favorite verse or verses are from God’s Holy Word. I often answer with sass; “Jesus Wept.”
My friends, this is my favorite verse right now. The Almighty, the Savior, the Word, the Holy Warrior who will lay down the most fierce and deadly butt-whooping of all time from a white horse– he walked and wept.
When we couldn’t fix it all– when HE in His humanity couldn’t dismiss it all or heal it all– He obeyed the Father at all costs. This fully God-fully human, beloved by the Supreme God, did the most difficult thing ever done on Earth and then Atoned for us.He stands over us as we cry, as we display our brokenness and our sickness, and as we suffer. He cleanses better than Clorox.
One day this will be over. One day Jesus will come in power and will judge all on the Earth. I want to be judged well for how I obeyed the Lord and sought the Light in Dark Places. Our biggest problem is not cancer. It isn’t childcare, meals, transportation, sleep deprivation, or disease.
It is sin. We are prideful, angry, mean-spirited, sharp-tongued and fail to give God glory every time. This is a process of becoming more holy. We are not perfect, but we will aim for perfection– like a child with cancer aims for the toilet. After all, Jesus wept and Jesus is here.