Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Mommies Aren't Really People, Are They?

My oldest son, age 5 & 3/4, impresses people often with his advanced vocabulary. He's got words, man, and he's not afraid to use them. But the maturity to make sense all the time, that's another thing. Recently he said a few things to me that made me burst out laughing--yes, in front of him--I know I'm a bad Mommy for doing that. But he handled it well both times.

For instance, last week I walked down the alley behind our house to collect him from a friend's backyard. It was dinner time. He was a little slow in coming, so I challenged him to a race. To his amazement, I actually took off running (it's only four houses away). I heard him yelling, "Stop, Mommy. Stop running!" Yes, I beat him home, but at least he was hurrying behind me (mission accomplished). When we stopped in the driveway, he exclaimed, "Mommy, why were you running? Grown-ups aren't supposed to run!" And he meant it! He was truly amazed that I could and would try to beat him in a footrace. I used to fake it, pretending to run, but would always let him catch up. Oh, the price of growing up!

Today I met a friend for coffee while the kids stayed with Nana, a substitute grandmother we are blessed to have nearby. On our way home, Nate asked me who I had been talking to. I told him it was a friend he didn't know, because I'd only met her recently. He said, in this incredulous voice, "You can make new friends?" As though that were an impossibility. "Uh, yeah, Mommy can make new friends. Happens quite a lot, actually. Thanks!"
Super Man

Call me dim, or maybe young, but back in the early 80s when the Christopher Reeve Superman movies came out, I focused a whole lot more on Lois Lane and the love story than I did on how Superman got to Earth. I mean, we're talking Christopher Reeve in his prime! And I was a pre-teen romantic.

But now that I make an effort, I can remember the kryptonite and the space capsule that shot Superman as a baby onto earth and into that farm yard, where he was found and adopted by a nice couple. Somewhere in there was a voice from beyond, telling this beautiful alien child that he was sent to Earth because humans "lack the light to show the way." "For this reason," continues the voice, "I have sent them you, my only son." And of course he's got these super-human powers, which he only uses for good.

See any parallels here? Any allusions to another "super" man who was sent by his Father to show us earthlings a thing or two about truth? Yes, with the upcoming release of the new movie "Superman Returns," people are talking up the "Superman as Jesus" angle. I confess, it never occurred to me back in the day, but here's an article that enlightened me to the current buzz. You might find it interesting, or you might be thinking, "Duh! Old news. Where has she been all these years?"

I can only say in my defense, "I was 10! And Christopher Reeve was so cute!"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Patient Theology

The past two Saturdays I've visited my friend Valerie in the hospital. She underwent brain surgery--her second in six years--back on May 24 (yeah, another reason to remember that day!). Since then she has been dealing with constant pain. Usually it's fairly excruciating-- something akin to having an ongoing brain freeze headache. You know, that sharp knife-like pain you experienced after every first bite of a snowball or slush drink, except probably about 10 times worse, and all the time. That's the kind of pain Valerie lives in. Since she's been in ICU and other parts of the hospital for about three weeks now, her back aches, too. She's in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and cognitive thinking skills therapy. She's having to learn to do just about everything all over again. If the hospital staff can medicate her sufficiently to stay ahead of the pain, she can make it through a day of therapy.

I can't really imagine what it's like to be her. When I have a headache--and I don't even suffer migraines--they don't begin to compare to her suffering. But I'm not the most patient mother when my head hurts. Let me tell you, my kids know when I'm not feeling well! Yet my vision remains the same, not double or triple as Valerie's does, and I can function pretty much normally, albeit in some discomfort. I could learn something from Valerie.

Both times I visited with her, she expressed in similar words her desire for this time of recuperation and re-learning. "I have a choice," she told me. "The only choice I've had since this whole thing began so long ago is how I respond to it. I can't make this go away, but I can be kind. Or I can be a [w]itch. I want to be kind to my caregivers. I want them to know that I appreciate their help and support. Maybe they'll see a little bit of Jesus that way."

Wow. This woman of faith uses her hospital bed as a pulpit, teaching the word of God through her attitudes, her trust, her words. She is not bound by her infirmity. She proclaims God's grace through her infirmity.

Every one of us has to endure something. We all have hardships. While Jesus never promised to remove difficulties--no, he instead acknowledged that we would experience them (John 16:33)--he did reassure us of his ultimate, sovereign power("but take heart, I have overcome the world."). Some of his final words to us were, "I am with you to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20). Valerie is taking heart, taking his words to heart.

I can, too, and so can you. Despite our circumstances, we have a choice in how we respond. Make others miserable, too, or give them a glimpse of glory.

By the way, if you know Valerie and live in the Dallas area, she loves having visitors. She needs them! Make time to stop by for a short visit with her. She's currently at Presbyterian Hospital. If you are out of town, she would love any letters, cards, cookies, flowers, etc. Any encouragement you can give really lifts her spirits and beats back the loneliness and weariness. Make a little time for her!