Working with Our Wounds

Henry stepped on a brick the other day, doing that reckless thing all children do that all mothers say not to. He was out playing with friends, barefoot, and in the middle of a game his foot found a broken brick in a neighbor’s front yard.

Henry’s foot was dripping with blood, bad enough that my friend Susie had to drive him home from only a few houses away. It was a little scary and the cut looked terrible.

I cleaned out the wound and sure enough the bleeding stopped. Henry was fine soon after, but his foot was understandably sore.

But a few days later, the wound still looked dark and it was irritated. Henry had a hard time walking on that area, but every time I inspected the cut it seemed to be in the process of healing. I irrigated the area and cleaned it out as much as possible without digging and making things worse.

Henry spent that week hobbling around. He had swim practice, he played in a soccer game. Life went on and he seemed to be fine, but it still hurt when he put pressure on that part of his foot.

Finally one night he came out of my bathroom armed with tweezers. “I think I hear a scratching sound,” he said. Which seemed weird. Why would your foot make a scratching sound? But he couldn’t describe it any better than that.

A few minutes later, my son came to me holding two small pieces of brick. Can you believe it? He had been walking around all week with two bits of brick still in his foot! I was embarrassed and ashamed and excited and freaked out.

Of course Henry was cured — the shards of brick had been the culprit all along. He could suddenly walk without pain because the thing that caused so much hurt had been removed. Just like that, he was fine.

What an embarrassing story to tell — how could I not have known? But I didn’t, and instead of coming up with all the excuses of how this could have happened, I was mostly just happy that my son felt better. The dark “dried blood” in the cut wasn’t blood at all, it was a piece of brick that was now gone.

Henry was the walking wounded and now he was healed.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the wounds we carry. Being a human is tough work. We get hurt, we are wounded by unkind words and deeds. We carry these injuries with us and they become a part of who we are. We react out of hurt, sometimes we do things that make sense only in light of a wound known only to us.

And we deal with people who are this same way. How can any of us know the depth of another’s struggle? Can we ever truly understand what affects those people around us?

“Be kind,” goes the saying, “for everyone is fighting a great battle.”

But on top of all of this, of the reality of hurts and wounds and the sadness of life, is the truth that our God saves us and he heals us. For each one of us walking around with a shard that stays where we have been hurt, God is there to remove that for us.

God can offer us true freedom, to bring us back from the injuries that we all suffer. We spend time in prayer, we find solace in God’s love by quietly soaking up the healing graces he has to offer.

God wants us healed and whole — not because he can love us better, but because he wants that freedom for each one of us. He doesn’t want us to suffer through life.

And out of that suffering, from the healing God offers, we can learn to love those around us. In the midst of our healing, we begin to offer in some small way the love of God that the hurting world so desperately needs to feel.

God’s Provision, Henry’s Adventure

Henry is having an interesting school year. His class, which consists of three boys (and no girls) is having a modified academic year and lots of fun. Technically the boys are in 4th grade, but this year we’re calling it 3.5.

Each morning, the class does a few hours of work, and in the afternoon the boys head out with their teacher for real life adventure. Some days the boys go to a local golf course to hit balls or play a few holes. They also have a class garden and spend time tilling, planting and pulling weeds. The boys have been instructed in pellet gun safety, and have also been learning to play chess and to type.

It’s a dream come true for this mama — watching my son have such an extraordinary year. It will be a school year he’ll never forget.

The reasoning behind this unique year is two-fold: one, the boys are all very young and while they are doing well academically, their behavior has been affected by being in such a small class with other equally young boys. Secondly, their classroom experience, especially as they get older, will be positively impacted by having more classmates.

It’s a very strange and unprecedented move, at least at our school. But as a mom of five boys, I’ve always dreamed of a learning experience that involved lots of “in the field” learning.

And here we are.

The best part for me is that it’s the answer to a prayer I didn’t even know I had.

Earlier this summer, I found myself really wishing Henry could repeat a grade. I didn’t even know what grade, and I knew it wasn’t realistic. He’s a good student, there’s no need to hold him back. And with only two other classmates, pulling him out of the class was out of the question.

But I also knew, more than either of those things, that this boy of mine could sure use a little more time — time for growing up, time for “classroom maturity”. Now that I have three high school boys, I also see how fast time goes. I would rather have Henry a year older than a year younger, especially once he got to be a teenager.

I had all these thoughts and felt stuck. I had something on my heart with no real way to deal with it.

And out of the blue, we got a call from the school superintendent inviting us to a meeting. There we sat, Paul and me and the other boys’ parents, and heard of this proposal — for us to accept or decline — that would allow our boys to be a part of a bigger 4th grade class next year while having this adventure in the meantime.

In the midst of the discussion I discovered that each of the other mom’s felt the same way about their young son — they wanted that extra year for him, but couldn’t figure out how to get it.

God is rich in mercy, because of the great love he has for us. (Eph 2:4)

The great and wonderful thing about God is sometimes he can come up with a solution for us, even when we can’t figure things out on our own.

I laugh at myself so many times when I realize how I fret and muse, trying to solve the problems in our life. Especially as a mom, there are so many times when I have to prayerfully consider ways to better help my children (or help them help themselves), ways to make our home life more peaceful.

Many times God gives me the wisdom I need, using the intellect he gave me. He does that for each of us — God gave us a brain, and we have to use it.

But then there are those times when a solution seems impossible, when no matter how hard we think about something, there isn’t an answer in sight.

These are the times when I have to remember that I can give a situation to God and ask him to figure it out. This isn’t a copout — it’s a viable option! We have to work like it depends on us, and pray and trust knowing it really depends on God.

I’m so grateful for the times that God reveals his great love for me by stepping in and offering a solution far better than I could have ever dreamed.

Our God is indeed rich in mercy, and oh how great is his love for us!

Post-election Feelings

I didn’t vote for Donald Trump. I feel like I want to declare this to the world. Not that it matters of course. He’s in and that’s that. And I’m going to be honest when I say I’m agitated and annoyed by all the demonstrations, the flag burning and protests. He’s in because half of the people who were willing to come out and vote, well they voted for him.

I won’t protest him, but I didn’t vote for him either.

Where I’m at right now is choosing hope. I’m choosing to believe, until I’m given evidence to the contrary, that perhaps he’ll rise to the challenge. Maybe this man who was elected to lead our country, well maybe he’ll figure out how to do that. Up until now he’s been a caricature of a human being — brash, rude, unkind, downright scary. I didn’t choose this, this doesn’t represent my beliefs or what I want in a political candidate.

And that hurts. Because I have people I really love who are scared and frustrated and hurting at the results of this election. A lot of our country is upset, scared that rights will be taken away, scared about what the future holds. A lot of bad stuff was said about a lot of people.

The worst part of all of this is how I’m lumped in with a group of Trump-supporters who come across as uncaring, unfeeling, rude, brash and unkind. I don’t want to be associated with this group. I don’t want to be a part of joking about a wall being built (it won’t be built). I don’t want to be a part of telling people to go back where they came from.

I want to be a part of a political group that loves people — that is pro-life, ALL LIFE, that cares for the poor, that cares for the businessman, that offers healthcare without it killing doctors in private practice.

Mostly, I want to be identified with people who spend their time doing good instead of putting other people down. I’m tired of the divisiveness. I’m upset that I’m lumped in with this group, but there doesn’t seem to be another place for me to go.

Ten Things

1. The reason I now blog in bullet form is I’m less overwhelmed and if I get interrupted I know exactly where to pick back up.

2. Summertime is all about being interrupted.

3. No, seriously. This epiphany came to me last night when I couldn’t figure out why I felt like my skin was about to peel off my bone structure and then it hit me: I NEVER (in this season of the year) get more than 25-30 seconds of quiet. And that’s why I have formed a zillion bad habits like watching Dr. Pimple Popper videos instead of doing anything constructive because I am almost always on the verge of starting something new like getting a drink of water for someone or heating up another round of lunch.

4. I’m NOT COMPLAINING. And also, it’s possible this was the theme of last week’s blog but I’m not using up any of my precious quiet time to double check. Is this a recurring theme? My bad.

5. The thing that actually inspired me to sit down and write in the first place is that we are leaving on vacation tomorrow and I’ve ingested enough caffeine that I’m actually on my game and getting things done. Don’t even ask what came over me because normally I attack the day before vacation with something more like trepidation and deep loathing. I always think packing is going to be SO FUN and it never is. The bigger question is not why packing isn’t fun but why I ever even entertain thoughts that it would be.

6. So here I sit eating the last shards of a chocolate bar I found in the fridge and drinking up some wine because everyone knows you can’t leave such items unattended when you go away for the week. I’m eating and drinking and waiting for the next load of laundry to switch over.

7. My friend Keri was in town yesterday and she made a joke about how she wished I wasn’t teaching because it killed my blog, me going to work full-time. It was sweet of her to still read and to care, but it got me thinking — what, exactly, killed my blog?

8. The truth is the blog was dying (and hopefully I’ve semi-resucistated it) before I entered the work force. I think the thing that killed it was my boys getting older and no longer having non-stop publishable entertainment. I still have non-stop entertainment, but most of it I can’t write about. If only my boys would blog…

9. Did you see my Instagram video? I’m finishing the last of my $2.97 vino and taking everyone’s advice — next time I’ll treat myself to the good stuff. Only $6.99 and up, from here on out.

10. Peace and LOVE.