The door has just closed behind my husband, who is headed to work for the day. I sit down to nurse my son. As soon as we get settled my toddler asks sweetly, “Can I have some milk?”
I sigh. “Yes, I will get you some milk as soon as I’m finished feeding Benjamin.”
Satisfied, she plays for a few moments.
“Ava, I told you that I would get you some milk when your brother is done, and–”
“No! I have to go potty!”
With screaming protests from my son, I settle him on the floor and hurry behind Ava to the bathroom. I get her settled on the toilet and hurry back to the wailing boy on the floor.
“Mommy, I’m done!”
“Be there in a sec!”
When I say that Benjamin is screaming, I get the feeling it doesn’t communicate the full force of the noise coming from this child. When he was in the womb, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia, when he had existed a mere twenty nine weeks. Convinced that the baby would need to be delivered in the near future, my doctor injected me with steroids to strengthen his lungs so that he would be ready to meet the world early. But God worked it out that Benjamin didn’t have to come early, and he was full-term when he met the world. Full-term with steroid-boosted lungs. The self-same lungs he was now using to their utmost capacity as he bellowed in my ear while I tried to bounce him on one hip while pulling my two-year-old off the potty with my free hand.
It’s a surprisingly difficult moral decision in this circumstance: Do I wash her hands or not?
I get very harried in circumstances like these, which happen about as often as I sit down. My immediate response is annoyance, and Ava hears it in my voice. My voice says, “You are a nuisance,” even if I am in the process of meeting her needs. Even Ben feels it.
Today while I was showering, while Benjamin was taking his first nap of the day and Ava was happily coloring (hopefully in a coloring book and not on the wall, doors, or television), I thought, “How did you do it, Jesus?”
Because I look at gospel, and I see that there were demands on Jesus all of his waking moments. Dozens of people in every direction pressed in, telling him that they need milk and had to go potty. Oh. I mean that they were hungry and needed healing. They followed him everywhere. And the places they didn’t follow, well, then a storm rises up and the Jesus’ terrified “helpers” wake the sleeping Jesus, so He can give them comfort.
Then I think, well, people were bugging God well before He actually walked the earth, He knew what He was getting himself into. But He was never before restricted to His limited body, He never before needed sleep or food. He could’ve made the decision to be born into luxury and He could’ve sealed Himself off in a royal palace, only making Himself available when He had slept for a couple hours. But he was born into poverty, and there were no walls between him and the desperate, relentlessly needy people he came to serve. And it wasn’t just two of his offspring. It was everyone. Even the people who weren’t screaming at the top of their lungs for His help.
When Jesus’ helpers decided to spare Him the trouble of dealing with certain people who, in their eyes, were unworthy of His attention, Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them.”
Maybe Jesus waited until He was 30 years old to come out of the closet as God because that’s when a person is mature enough to meet someone else’s needs before their own. Maybe when I’m thirty I’ll be over this sickness that is selfishness. Of course, Jesus wasn’t selfish before He was thirty either: he submitted himself to the authority of his parents, even though He was God.
Cure me of my selfishness, Lord. God, help me show Your ever-welcoming, never-ceasing love to my children, and to every person I interact with. But, God, my children. They’re with me most moments of every day and sometimes, many times, more times than I would like to admit, I forget God’s Love, or it becomes this abstract thing that is a beautiful distant thought to unpack after the kids grow up… God, thank You that I cannot meet their every need, thank You that You can. God, help me point them to You.
Sigh. God help me.
It’s getting really hot in the Pacific Northwest and that does nothing to help my mood. So it’s grilling time. These pork chops were not really my favorite, but Adam said he liked them and they’re super simple, so we might have them again sometime. I think what I didn’t like about them was actually the soy sauce that I bought on clearance: it’s more salty than soy-y.
Asian-Style Marinated Pork Chops
4 Boneless, Skinless Pork Chops
1/3 Cup of Soy Sauce
1/3 Cup of Olive Oil
3 Cloves of Garlic, Peeled and Minced
1 1-2 Inch Piece of Ginger, Peeled and Minced
1/2 Teaspoon of White Pepper, Optional
Combine all ingredients in a gallon-sized plastic bag and marinate for a couple hours in the refrigerator.
Grill until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes on each side on a preheated grill.