Thursday, April 1, 2010

Holy Thursday

I was blessed with the stomach flu last week.

No, really. There's nothing like a good case of dysentery to help you focus on basics. It's unpleasant, I admit, but life is like that. Sometimes we only learn things the hard way.

My son brought the virus home from school last Friday. You all know how that goes. No sooner had he asked "Dad, what's for dinner?" than he was violently ill, all over the kitchen. All over. Mop-and-bucket ill, not a job for paper towels.

For what little good it might do, I shepherded him into the bathroom. I left him to recover a bit while I completed my transformation from cook to janitor. I cleaned the kitchen, then settled my son on the couch with a TV, a blanket, and a bucket. I was still hoping for the best.

An hour later he was sick again. Almost definitely a bug. Damn. I estimated the chance of catching it myself at well over 90%. He called me. He was miserable and wanted to snuggle up. What else could I do? 95% now. Of course, he wanted me to tuck him in and kiss him goodnight. There was nothing for it but to roll the dice and pray.

By the next morning, my wife and second son were down. 99%. I did what I could for them and made a quick run to the market to provision up for the coming storm: saltines, chicken soup, ice pops, and ginger ale. Please, Lord, let this cup pass? By afternoon, the clouds rolled in.

100%. Thy will be done.

That night, my prayers took on a different quality: a certain urgency. It's not a religious experience, per se; but it is a cleansing process. The lessons are there, if you look for them.


It's nothing special, really: to care for your children when they are sick. When they need your love, you give it to them, regardless of the consequences. You worry about them first and the virus later. It isn't what a good parent does. It is what an ordinary parent does. It isn't above-and-beyond. It's the minimum. It is nothing special.

If you love those who love you, what merit is there in that?

Of course, I love my children. I love them more than I ever thought I could love anyone. If you have been blessed with any, you understand. I give them the best I have. Sometimes, this isn't so good; that is the way of it. Good or not, it's the best I have. Still, it's the minimum. It's nothing special. It's where we start. We are called to more.

Much, much more.

Do you understand what I just did for you? You address me as "Teacher" and "Lord," and fittingly enough, for so I am. But if I washed your feet - I who am Teacher and Lord - then you must wash each other's feet. What I just did was to give you an example: as I have done, so you must do.

This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you.

Certainly I love my children. I give them the best I have or, at least, I try. Their needs outweigh mine. Love is as love does. This is nothing special.

But we are called to show exactly this kind of love to everyone.


That would be something special.

Respectfully Yours,



Suldog said...

In the church, this has always been such a special day of opportunity, both for teaching and learning. Too often, I try to do the former when I need more of the latter :-)

Nicely written.

(As I've related, incident on this day, involving Mr. O'Malley of Boston, led to MY WIFE and I leaving the church. He taught via bad example, we reacted.)

Buck said...

That would be something special.


I'm sorry about the bug that got you and yours down, Cricket, but I definitely benefited from it by reading this post. It's been a long, long time since I tended to a sick child and I almost look back on the occasion fondly. Almost. ;-)

Shrinky said...

Amen to that, it could well provide the cure to most of our world's ill's (and this being typed by a heathen, too)! I certainly believe in Christian values, and we owe it to ourselves to try to be the best example for others to follow. So sorry about the lergy striking you and yours down, hope things are beginning to resumie normality around now. My heart too, always drops thunk, into my boots when one of my darlings limps home sick, they soo love to share!

Hilary said...

I so remember those days when a viruses ripped through the house. If we were lucky one of us would begin as soon as another subsided. When we were less lucky, it would hit two or more of us at one time. I feel for you and I'm warmed by how you think. There isn't any love like I feel for my kids, but feeling a close second for the universe at large would be a fine "nothing special."

lime said...

it is amazing the classrooms god can use, is it not?