We were so tired last night, but when a certain nine year old boy, walked into our room for the third time complaining about unidentifiable thumps and bumps after we had already taken some time to listen to his concerns, listen to the noises and explain the basic workings of the air conditioner compressor outside his window, I looked at him and noticed the dark marks of exhaustion circling his grey-green eyes, the eyelids that were red and droopy and thought I felt my mommy senses tingle.
"A mother understands what a child does not say." - Jewish Proverb
He was jumpy, he was scared, he was obsessing about a non-issue when what was pressing on his heart was the real issue. He had tried to lock it away in that false-bottomless pit, but the springboard must have had a hair trigger so here he was, "wired" and wounded.
What do yo do when you look at your child and the mirror image you see makes you want to weep, roar, scream in rage at the cruelty of nature, or the unfairness of nurturing? What do you do when you can look into his weary eyes and see what is behind your own muddy brown reflected back at you? What do you do when he is confused and scared and you desperately want to kiss it away and banish those feelings and thoughts from his mind so that he knows peace again instead of worry, fear, panic, distress and obsession?
You breathe... deeply. You hold him on your lap even if most of his lanky frame spills over. You rock him and stroke his hair as his body trembles and quakes ever so slightly in an all too familiar erratic cadence. You remember how it felt not too long ago, when the tears were coursing down your own face and the obsessive thoughts were plaguing your brain. You knew there was something wrong and your mind was racing to find something to take the blame. Your heart was pounding and your brain was trying to keep pace. The knot in your stomach was obviously tied by an experienced sailor on a long leave and trying to catch your breath was like trying to catch a dandelion seed in a hurricane. You felt like the winds and rain were lashing about you and every last means of protection had been ripped away. No umbrella, no rain coat, not even a tree to hide behind. You felt exposed and helpless and frighteningly weak.
You remember standing there in that holy place with the people you loved most in the world next to you even though you were drained physically and emotionally and the last thing you wanted to do was be still. You fight the urge to bolt for the sake of these precious souls surrounding you. You look up to the altar and see the One who can cure all, make the blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear and you beg Him to FIX IT!!!
And then you hear ever so softly, but very clearly, a familiar whisper in your heart... It is going to be alright. It will be... okay. You wish that the words were more eloquent, but they were what they were. Simple, soft, loving. There was no instant cure or release from the anxieties. That would take time and you are pretty sure it isn't going to be easy. The day might get darker and the tempest might surge higher before you can even hope to look for the blue skies again. You thank God for that life vest that keeps your head above water even though your body is too tired to tread any more. When every ounce of strength is gone, you remember the whisper and you keep slogging on.
Now it is your turn to offer those words to this worried, weary boy. You can say them with a certainty that you really believe. You don't have to force them. They are not just words of distracting dialogue. You talk about the real hurt, how it scared him, how he felt as though all of his "control" was taken away and something painful and terrifying was inflicted upon him even though it was for the benefit of his body. You see the mark it left on his soul. That wound must be cared for and he must learn to put up his umbrella now during these gentle sun showers. You must be the one to teach him.
I went to bed with a heavy heart but a quiet calm that knew it was going to be alright. I have always prayed that God would help me be the mother He needed me to be for them. Is it possible that my storms were an answer to that prayer? How else would this mother know so intimately the pangs of her son's heart? For that, I must be grateful. As hard as it is to say "thank you"... I do so. It was worth it if only for this moment, right here.
It will be... okay.