On Sundays, we usually begin our trek to church with the best of intentions. "This is the Sunday we'll finally put Jude in the nursery."I mean, c'mon, he's kid #4. And he's five months old, for cryin' out loud. All the others were so much easier to leave for some reason.
The church we're currently attending doesn't have a cry room or an infant nursery. The nursery Jude would go to is for TWO and under and they usually only have two adults in there.
You can see why we haven't been able to leave our boy!
He really is a good pew baby, most of the time. He's content during worship and usually falls asleep pretty quickly. Lately, not as much. Last week, we ended up out in the foyer. Not a biggie, several people hang out in the foyer and the sermon is playing on a screen so you can still listen in. A deacon brought us some chairs and we settled in next to another couple and their child.
Here we sat, awkwardly, with our healthy boy and there they sat, awkwardly, with their unhealthy boy. I tried to make small talk with the mother, but it all came out...awkwardly. He was severely disabled. Severely? Are there levels of disability? I'm guessing it was cerebral palsy. He was wheelchair bound, couldn't speak, had no control of his muscles. But oh how they love him. You could see it in their actions. The way they talked to him and rubbed his hair during the sermon.
I was quite distracted by them throughout the sermon. Imagining what their day to day life is like. Does she ever get a break? What are her worries? How vastly different is her life from mine? And on and on.
Ironically, the sermon was about the complaining Israelites. How God rescued them from slavery, saved them from their enemies at the Red Sea, laid food at their feet when they were wandering in the desert. Yet they complained. Even after the miracles and salvation. Even when God heard their complaints and gave them more in the form of quail. Whine, whine, whine.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Simon, Felix, Titus, Jude. My healthy children. My manna. My quail.
I complain when they don't put their shoes on fast enough.
I complain when they bicker.
I complain when they're loud.
I complain when they aren't doing what I think they should be doing.
I complain a heck of a lot more than I THANK GOD for them.
And as we drove home, I wondered...
What would that mother give to hear her son speak?
What would she do just for one day of him being able to fully function?
How would her life be different if he were healthy enough to bicker with a sibling?
If she didn't have to travel with an emergency bag to clean out his tracheostomy.
If she didn't have to lug a giant wheelchair stroller.
If she didn't have to watch her son struggle for every breath.
Just a reminder to myself that I have so much to be grateful for and so very little to complain about.