He’s not horribly sick anymore. Now he’s just somewhat sick. His desire to run and jump and wrestle and conquer the world is firing up again. He’s done with being sick. He thinks he’s all better. And he’s chaffing at the way I’m treating him. He’s frustrated that we’re still in our home quarantine. He’s hopping mad that I’ve declared that it’s nap time. And he’s absolutely tired of my reminders to drink fluids.
“I NOT SICK!” He croaked at me with is hoarse voice and blocked nose.
Honestly, caring for a kid in this stage of sickness is exhausting. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very glad he’s healing. I’m utterly grateful the scary nights of croup are over. But this mostly-healed stage is… exhausting. I don’t like it. I’m so tired. It’s stretching me beyond all my strength.
His attitude is demanding and self-absorbed. His treatment of us is rude and careless. His desire for freedom is hurting those around him. This stage of his healing demands the rest of us make a choice. Will we choose to give an unceasing measure of grace, patience, and servant hood? Of course we will. We are a dedicated family and no amount of sacrificial love is too great a requirement. We love him. Thoroughly. Even as he is today. And love is bigger than all of this.
The minivan lurched to the right and cut off the traffic in that lane. Her swing was fast and wild. The wide u-turn was reckless and unskilled. But she just drove on like nothing had happened. Behind her, things screeched to a halt. Beside her, there was panic and confusion. But she had no idea what she’d done. She just drove on like there was no issue. Her actions cost everyone around her. And they were mad. Horns blared. Gestures were made. Gas pedals were floored. Tires screeched. There was no love. There was no grace. And why should there be? They were all strangers. And she was no more than a source of aggravation. A source of danger. A problem that no one should have to put up with. I’m imagining some of those drivers thought, “Get her off the road. Get her out of my way. I shouldn’t have to deal with idiots like this.”
Problem is, we are all like that reckless minivan mothers. We are all like a mostly-well baby. All of us have seasons like that. Times when our lives look like wide swinging u-turns. When we are so confident about moving forward but are causing havoc in the process. When we shout rudely, “I NOT SICK!” but we are not fully well. When our healing journeys unwittingly produce carnage.
The reality is we are all a little like that every day. No one is fully whole. No one is fully well. No one is done with their growing and healing and changing. So it’s not a question of whether we should have to deal with people like that, it’s a question of how we will respond because, let’s be honest: we get swerved into daily. It’s just how life is with humans.
When we are swerved into, we have a choice: Get angry and offended, OR don’t. Hate people, OR don’t. As for me, I don’t want to live an angry, offended, hateful life. What a waste of life that would be. Of course, the alternative life of Love and Grace is costly. It requires energy. It asks that I put the needs of others before my own. It is hard. But the fruit of that life is beautiful. It is one of freedom and joy.
What if we start to expect swerving drivers? To expect mostly-well people to act out? To expect that hurting sheep bite? What if today we expect it? Watch for it? Be ready to not get offended. Be ready to overflow with grace. Be ready to choose to live out real Love. Be ready to explode with beautiful fruit.
But let’s go even further. What if being swerved into is the birthplace of real beauty? What if our responses to reckless people are the moments of our sanctification? What if it’s in these love challenges that we are pressed into diamonds? What if those annoying people are the catalysts for our empowerment by the Holy Spirit?
Our church family has been studying Luke 6 and the extreme lifestyle Jesus is describing and prescribing. Today my sweet son is causing me to consider Jesus’ words again. I’m feeling my deep need for the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to live out His call to real Love. His call to live in the passion of Yahweh. For those I love and even more for those I don’t. In that place there is glorious Life.
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. (Luke 6:35-36 ESV)