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Monday, August 17, 2015

When Life Is Hard: That Time My Kid Spilled Nail Polish In His Eye

So, last week, my son spilled this in his eye.

Before you start judging (kidding -- I know you've already started judging, and it's ok), I just want to ask one question: whose kid HASN'T spilled nail polish in their eye?

Ok, I get it. You can put your hands down now. It's just me, as usual. I'm convinced God allows these ridiculous things to happen to me just so YOU get a good laugh. And probably so I learn some stuff. I'm starting to put two and two together and realize that I must be a slow learner, because He feels the need to provide me with ample opportunities for growth and refinement. #ThankYouGod #ButReally

So, last week my youngest spilled nail polish in his eye. Yes, he's ok. He can still see just fine, as was evidenced by the detailed picture he drew on my kitchen floor this morning. #GodBlessHisTeachers

Last Friday I was out for the day while he was at home with a babysitter. I was working and trying to cram a million things into a babysitter-length span of time. It was shortly after lunch, as I was sitting down to have a meeting, that my phone rang. It was my sitter. #OyVey 

I debated answering the call. If I answered, chances were good that I'd be on the receiving end of some sort of bad-news phone call or serious discipline issue. If I ignored the call, chances were good that I'd be distracted by my meeting and would forget about the ensuing drama, putting off an inevitably bad situation for a little while. #Procrastination

Of course I answered the phone. What kind of mother do you take me for???
"Hi, Susan. Is everything ok?"
 I could tell immediately from the screaming in the background that, no, things were not ok.
"Susan, what's wrong? What happened?"
"I don't know what happened. I'm just not sure. I was downstairs doing the dishes and Foster was playing fine. All of a sudden I heard him screaming and he came down the back stairs holding a bottle of nail polish in one hand and covering his eye with the other. I pried his hand back -- I'm not sure how -- he spilled nail polish in his eye. Oh, yeah, and he dropped the bottle and it shattered all over the floor and now there's nail polish on the (newly painted) walls."

I stood up, grabbed my laptop bag and purse, announced that, unfortunately, I was unable to have a meeting because my kid SPILLED NAIL POLISH IN HIS EYE, got in the car, and started driving home.

My emotions? Well, if I'm being honest, they were a mixture of fear (that my son would lose his vision or see through rose-colored retinas for the rest of his life) and rage (that my son was playing in nail polish to begin with), with an eerie dose of calm in there, too (after all, what's done is done).

I pulled up the driveway, threw the van in park, and ran into the house, looking for my son and prepared to head straight to the ER. I expected hysteria. Instead, I found him sitting at the kitchen table, calmly eating a snack, perfectly content and in zero pain.

I immediately envisioned myself on a deserted island, sipping a mojito and nonchalantly lounging my size-four body next to the lapping waves, in order that I might not blow a size-fourteen gasket.

Thankfully, my superhero sitter had the sense to flush his eye out with lots of water, and also to give him food (in that order). His eye wasn't even red, and he said it didn't hurt "even a nothing bit." 

When I asked him what he had been thinking doing, he told me he'd been exploring his sister's room upstairs and had happened upon this bottle of nail polish in one of her zillion pouches of useless crap.  He then thought it would be fun to use it "like makeup." He wanted to have the face of a Cover Girl beauty, I suppose, and let me say, he didn't miss a spot. He painted his entire (ENTIRE) face in nail polish. Including his eyelids. He filled the brush with paint and dripped it onto his eyelid (translation: into his eye) to become "bootiful." 

Once I was certain he was okay (and after I had called the pediatrician and been told that I could just keep an EYE -- couldn't resist -- on it instead of taking him to the ER, as they had initially counseled me to do), we had yet another conversation that I had never foreseen myself having before I had children. It was the whole, "we don't paint our faces with nail polish" convo. You know, you've had it, too. Or not.

I ended up going back to my meeting. Later that evening I made it home just in time for him to stand on the sofa (which is forbidden in our home) and topple over, puncturing his scalp on the corner of a toy organizer next to the couch and bleeding all over our cream-colored carpet in our new (to us) home. And you know what I mean when I say that head wounds bleed PROFUSELY. 

Nail polish on the freshly painted walls. Check. Blood spattered all over the white carpet. Check, check. Frustration threatening to spill over into tears and "I quit's." Check, check, check.

There's no doubt about it: life is hard. It's full of unexpected emergencies and "I-never-saw-that-coming's" and "is-this-really-my-life's??"

And what's more, I know that my bad days are nothing compared to the experiences of many others. I read an online journal update written by a mom whose newborn baby who simply wasn't feeling well now is fighting for his life while undergoing the most intense chemotherapy his tiny body can withstand. I cry for a friend whose marriage is in serious distress and is facing some difficult, painful decisions. I watch parents care for their child, a sweet boy who was born with severe disabilities and will never function without round-the-clock care, day after day after day after day after day. I read of the mom of two precious children who mysteriously took ill and died weeks later, leaving behind a devastated husband and two girls who will grow up without their mom.

THAT is hard.

However, if I can, I'd like to say this (hopefully without sounding like I believe myself to be the authority on all things hard and spiritual, and without sounding insensitive or like I'm spouting off just another "church-y" response):

Hard is where HE is.

It's easy to feel like, in the middle of crappy days and seasons and years and decades, HE is light years away. I don't blame you if you feel that way, because I have felt it, too. However, our feelings don't always (or usually) dictate what is true, and what's true is what God's Word says. Read what Paul wrote (inspired fully by God) in his second letter to the church at Corinth:

"All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too."

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Don't you just adore the end of that section of Scripture? We have PLENTY of hard times, but they will NEVER surpass the good times of His healing comfort. "We get a full measure of that, too."

Hard is where His HEALING is.

It's tempting to run from hard. Who wants to embrace the moments when life feels like it might crush us under the heaviness of our situations? I'll be the first to admit that I often want to cut and run and breeze over hard. But I don't want to run enough to miss out on where HE is, and where His HEALING is.

Sometimes, God calls us to hard stuff. To walk through painful situations. To embrace agony. 

Sometimes, God calls us to heart stuff. To walk with Him, no matter how hard. To embrace His sufficiency for us.

If you're walking through a storm, a "nail-polish-in-the-eye" kind of day (or worse), know that I'm praying for you even as I type these words. He is good. He is near. He is all about your healing and restoration. He is about your HEART.

I, on the other hand, am all about the 409. Spray, that is. 409 spray on the floors of my kitchen, on the walls, on the freshly-painted cabinets. On the cream-colored carpet in my bonus room. 

Yes, I'm all about the 409. And Him. And Healing. But especially the 409.

Feel free to laugh!