When one of my sons was almost two years old, he dug in the dirt with a spoon while I worked in the yard. I could not get to him quickly enough before he put some of the dirt out of the spoon into his mouth. I swept him up and took my shirt trying to dig the dirt out of his tiny mouth – all the while, he smiled at me.
Approximately 48 hours later, he had a large swelling on the side of his neck about the size of a lemon. We rushed him to an after-hours clinic to see a doctor. The doctor took us to a room, sat us down and said, “It is highly possible that your son has leukemia.” The very next morning, I was sitting on our pediatrician’s front doorstep waiting to see him as soon as he arrived to his office.
He told me my son had a condition called, “Toxoplasmosis” and would require immediate hospitalization. He was admitted into Texas Children’s Hospital in preparation for a next-day surgery.
I will never forget the morning the nurse came to the pre-op area to take my child out of my arms. My husband, my mother, and my father were with me. I was able to keep it together until the nurse took Max in her arms and walked away from us. My little Max looked over the nurse’s shoulder, waved at the four of us and said, “Bye Bye.” I lost it.
As Max was recovering in Texas Children’s Hospital, we had many very good nurses. Being a small child, they had great difficulty keeping his necessary IV in his vein. It seemed like every hour there was an IV issue and a nurse would come in to stick Max all over again. On our fourth night around 2:00 in the morning, a nurse woke us up and said, “I’m going to have to restick Max.” I stumbled from the bed next to Max’s crib, turned on a light and said, “If you wake him and stick him again, there is a chance I will hit you.” The nurse backed out of the room and closed the door behind her.
In about 15 minutes, the charge nurse came into the room, flipped on all the lights and announced, “Mrs. Archer, you need to leave the room while we attend to Max.” I replied, “Ma’am, you are going to have to call my pediatrician, because I am not leaving this room.” It was then the charge nurse informed me, “There are children in this hospital much sicker than yours and you need to get a grip.” I replied, “I have no doubt that there are other children in this hospital more ill than Max, but Max is mine. Because Max is mine, you cannot touch him until I talk to his doctor.”
The nurse stormed out of the room, made a phone call, came back, apologized and said, “Dr. Kagan said it is time for Max to be on oral meds so we don’t need to redo the IV.” I took Max in my arms, rocked him and we both fell sound asleep.
Let me tell you the Number 1 thing you never want to say to me: Do not ever tell me to get out of the way when you want to mess with a member of my family.
More recently and in an effort to reach middle ground with a difficult person in my life, I began to make a list of what my family has endured since the beginning of 2015. I am not going to list everything here because it is very private family and medical information. I let my guard down and poured out my heart hoping this person would gain understanding of my perspective allowing us to mend fences. I do not feel as though I was making excuses. I feel instead I was offering an explanation. When I finished talking, the person on the receiving end of my explanation folded her arms and replied, “Well, we all have problems.” The verse, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine,” came to mind.
Let me tell you the Number 2 thing you never want to say around me: Never tell me that my family’s pain isn’t a big deal and can be lumped in with everyone else’s problems.
Some of you may be reading this and be familiar with one or both of these situations. This blog isn’t about bitterness. This blog offers a dose of reality. God’s children are called to “share and bear.” We should have the freedom to share our needs with others and the bible says, if we call ourselves Christians, we must be ready to bear one another’s burdens. No one is asking us to take on the problems of the world – we all certainly have our fair share of problems. We are asked to be kind and merciful to others. We are asked to care.
I’ve done my own fair share of heartless chatter. Even as I write this blog, the Lord reminds me of careless words whispered and written in angry times that cut someone else to the bone. Father, forgive me.
Let me tell you two things you never want to do to God’s children: 1) Try to mess with His children and think He will stand idly by in their time of need; and 2) Try to minimize the pain of any of His children as if their feelings or their life does not matter.
Everyone matters to God.