The other day I was complaining about always having to clean up after my young son and all the messes a young child makes.
I have been over stressed lately and loaded down with extra work and I was feeling the strain. I was just plain worn out.
I complained to God about it and asked for His help in dealing with it all. God has a unique way of putting things back into perspective.
Yesterday I had to call a customer back who was having a bit of trouble with re-ordering. When I called, she was in the middle of helping to put together a photo memory board for a funeral – a funeral for a young boy she knew who had recently passed away from cancer.
Right then and there I felt the sting of the guilt over feeling overwhelmed and stressed from being a mom of a young boy and all the complaining I had done.
After I hung up, I cried. I cried for my son, for that mother and I cried for myself.
My heart broke for a mother I didn’t know. A woman who must be heartbroken beyond belief. A woman who is going through the nightmare I fear the most. A mother whose son may not be suffering anymore, but who would do anything, and give anything to have him back.
I felt the guilt on so many levels.
Guilt for having my healthy son while she had to watch her son die slowly from an evil disease.
Guilt over complaining about the many things my son does while she would give anything to have those troubles back.
Guilt over feeling grateful that I’m not going through that right now – my biggest fear which is losing my son.
And oddly enough, I felt guilty over needing this woman’s tragedy to teach me a lesson on how to be grateful for even the stressors and hardships that children can bring into our lives.
So tonight, as I listen to my son talk about his day, his wants and his toys, I try and soak up every ounce of him. I gaze into his bright, big eyes as if I were in a trance. I try and memorize every feature, every curve of his face even though I know it is constantly changing as he grows. I sit there in peaceful bliss.
As my son rattles off his prayers, I say a silent prayer to God asking for his forgiveness at my complaining about this precious, precious gift he has given me. I should never complain, ever.
I am then sharply reminded that at the same time I feel my son’s little arms wrapped around my neck, a grief stricken mother somewhere wearily leans on her son’s casket for support.
At the same time I sing a lullaby to my son, a broken hearted mother greets people with a forced smile, thanking them for coming.
While I tuck my son safely into bed and kiss him goodnight, another mother kisser her son for the last time.
The tears in my eyes are a mixed set. One of pure joy and gratefulness for my blessings and one of sorrow for another mother. As mothers ourselves, we are all connected to her and feel her pain.
As I remember this lesson I notice I speak a little softer, a little sweeter and my patience is a little longer. I think that may be God’s point.
God reminded me of something I already knew, but in the short term had forgotten – that children are so worth the effort and even when we think we can’t take one more minute of it, just the mere thought of them being taken away from us is enough to jerk us back into the state of extreme gratefulness.
May God always bless us with that jerk back into reality with just the thought of losing them and never with the reality of it.