Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Annoyances or Blessings?

A couple of Fridays ago my daughter had to get six stitches in her chin. According to her teachers, she fell from some playground equipment. According to her, she was running with her eyes closed. Knowing her personality, I can believe both.

I had the day off, but had dialed in to a meeting. About half-way in, the phone rang and I didn't recognize the number of her school. A couple of minutes later, my wife called. And called. And called. About the third time I figured I better answer the phone.

Slightly annoyed by the interruption, I answered. After hearing what had happened I responded with the usual husband-speak, "uh huh, oh ok, uh huh..." and told her that my meeting was almost done and I'd head over after. (In my defense, at this point, the school was saying the standard, "oh, don't worry we put a band-aid on it and some ice. She's not crying..."

Another couple of minutes pass and the phone rings again. "Sheesh, can't I get a break?" I thought to myself. My wife tells me that they think she might need stitches. "Oh, ok. I'll sign off and head right over."

Still annoyed I head over to the school (my wife beat me there) pick my daughter up and take her to the doctor. I remained totally into myself up to the point the nurse removed her bandage to reveal the depth of the wound. Then all my attention was squarely on my precious daughter.

Parenting sucks. I say that just because I'm selfish. I like my own time. I like to pick my own movies. I like to have my own spot on the bed that I won't be crowded out from at four in the morning. And I like my days off. But I love my children.

I think of the blessing of having a job that provides insurance so that my daughter could get her stitches. I am blessed that I have days off for times such as this. I am blessed with a wife who is less selfish than I am to keep me on my toes and help me feel compassion towards my children. I am blessed that my daughter was even in school in the first place where she could eventually hurt herself.

Not everyone is so blessed. Katie Davis relates in Kisses from Katie how she begins to adopt some of the children around her. These children are lucky if they can go to school. Lucky to have homes made of clay with tin roofs. Lucky if someone will attend to them in the hospital. I say lucky, not blessed, because the blessings come later. Katie is a blessing meeting their needs to allow them to attend school. She is a blessing to open up her home to others when theirs is washed away by rain. She is a blessing to pay for medical care so that a nurse will actually pay attention to the crying little girl on a cot. She is a blessing to allow herself to be called "mommy" by children who do not have one. Or I should say, didn't have one before. And Katie accepts all of this lovingly, with joy and thanksgiving seeing what God is doing in her life.

Maybe the bad attitudes, frustrations and selfishness didn't make it past the editor's desk and are left on the cutting room floor, to mix metaphors. But as I read this book, I believe she is sincere. Yes, this is hard, she admits that. But she doesn't care. And that convicts me because it puts parenting in perspective. Her perspective, not mine.

"Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him." (Psalm 127:3 NLT)

This blog is part of a book club reading Kisses from Katie. Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter are leading the discussion. Head over to their blogs for more.

3 comments:

Jay Cookingham said...

Katie is a great inspiration to us all...including a "Parent veteran" like myself. Let us rejoice that our kids have parents and pray for those children who do not.

Sarah Salter said...

I'm not a parent and so I had to struggle with what the meaning of this chapter was for me. And for me, what it ended up meaning was that God entrusts people to me to care for and that it's my job to care for them-- even at sacrifice to myself.

Thanks for sharing your story! It's a great reminder. :-)

jasonS said...

Frank, thanks for being real. As a parent, you deal with these types of things all the time and you don't always know what's serious and what's not. I've done very similar to what you described here. It's hard to balance sometimes and there are struggles and pressures and growing pains (for everyone), but it is a joy and privilege and blessing beyond all those things--the grace of God in our lives. Thanks so much, Frank.