I fought the good fight.
They fall for the magic of the Band-Aid for all bumps, bruises, minor aches, pains, and scratches.
I gave speeches and endured the tantrums.
You don’t need a Band-Aid for any casualty that doesn’t involve an open wound and significant blood loss. That’s what I tell them in my all-knowing Mom-voice.
But still they cried and screamed about the unendurable pain and suffering with all the logic and reasoning of a thoroughly traumatized two-year-old. Finally, in exasperation I handed them what was essentially a sticker to pop over a bruise.
They were miraculously cured. No more pain or sobbing. In fact, the impact of the Band-Aid was immediate. It didn’t even need to contact their skin; the simple sight of me snatching the box down from the cabinet calmed them down instantly.
Maybe it wasn’t the Band-Aid they needed; I know this. Perhaps it was the acknowledgement: I see you hurting. I’m tending to this need. I’m not going to leave you here aching alone, wounds sore, pain throbbing.
This is, after all, why Mom-kisses on the tiniest of boo-boos are where the miracle cures begin. Because the love and attention and the simply doing something–anything– says, “I love you,” louder than any three words can.
And this is the Mom-life, the life of nurses, care providers, teachers, grandmas, and true friends. It’s saying, “I care about you,” and meaning it at night when it costs you sleep and during the day when it costs you patience.
It means never pouring a cup of tea or a soda and drinking it all down yourself. It means spending all day putting other people first and scheduling every moment of your life around the schedules of other people.
“Motherhood is the big-leagues of self-sacrifice.” That’s what Rachel Jankovic wrote recently.
And this is the sacrifice, she tells me, that God finds such a sweet-smelling aroma. It’s when we’re laying ourselves down and offering that life to others, burning up selfishness on the altar as our worship to Him.
Really, in the end, shouldn’t I rejoice over those moments when a kiss and a Band-Aid are all it took to comfort and assuage? This world pesters and pounds, and wounds aren’t always so superficial and easy-to-heal. Sometimes they dig deep. Sometimes they fester and infect; they spread and ache long after we’ve bandaged over them.
So our calling becomes this: loving others enough to care about the depth of the pain and not just covering over with a Band-Aid when they need so much more.
Sure, we could snatch that trusty and true box down from the cabinet shelf and toss a sticky bandage over a hurt. We could rush this and move on. All better. Stop your crying. No need to fuss. Don’t you see the Band-Aid I’ve slapped on your skin?
This is what Queen Esther did, unknowingly, of course. She heard of her cousin Mordecai’s distress. How he had torn apart his clothes and now sat at the city gate, covered over with burlap and ashes, wailing with loud bitterness.
She responded with concern, but without listening and understanding. Yes, she essentially snatched down the box of Band-Aids and sent one his way: “She sent clothes for Mordecai to wear so he could take off his sackcloth, but he did not accept them” (Esther 4:4 HCSB).
That’s what she thought would help, just superficial care. Change your clothes. Stop that mourning, Mordecai, and everything will be well.
But he needed so much more. He needed her to put her life on the line for her entire people by interceding with the king. Mordecai needed self-sacrifice, unselfishness, and humility. A change of clothes simply wasn’t enough.
When we love, we’re willing to tend with care also: to take the time, to make the time, to thrust our hands into a hemorrhaging wound, if necessary, and become a right bloody mess in order to stop the bleeding out.
Jesus didn’t leave us desperately sick and dying. If he had only healed some physical hurts, if he had simply taught some important truths, if he had solely righted a few social injustices, he would have given Band-Aid care for a terminal disease.
Yet, Jesus did more, sacrificing His life for ours, because he knew we needed radical intervention to save our dying selves.
And then He asks us to live this life of love:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34 NIV).
Loving with Band-Aids some days. Loving with time and attention on others. Loving with messy healing and laying ourselves down at times.
But loving like Jesus always.
Happy Mother’s Day, National Nurses Week, and Teacher Appreciation Week to all of you!!!
Thank you for all your care and sacrifice for others.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2013 Heather King