Recognizing that my mothering does not always align with my feelings of love for my boys, I asked Heavenly Father to help me to love Luke more like He loves him. Tuesday night as I prayed, I had a nudging thought that to love him more like that, I'd need to serve him and it might be hard, but I knew I really needed this blessing.
Wednesday morning, I read from Matthew, chapter 14 where Jesus learned of the beheading of John the Baptist, and he "departed then by ship into a desert place apart." But the people thronged to him. He couldn't mourn immediately, or privately. Or at least he chose not to. "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick." I stopped reading at “compassion,” and I repeated to myself, “Jesus had compassion.”
At breakfast, Luke didn't eat very much and he said his tummy felt bad. By mid-day, he was throwing up. Twice, he made it to the toilet. Once, I wasn't so lucky. He almost made it. Having reached the tiled bathroom floor, he vomited again and again, a substance more like water than puke, clear and orange-y smelling. His small frame, made smaller in his extremity.
He sat in the tub while I cleaned. Quietly he said, “I’m sorry Momma.”
“Why are you sorry?”
“I’m sorry I didn’t make it to the toilet.”
“That’s okay, you couldn’t help it.”
I said it kindly, and honestly. I really meant it. I had rolled my jeans up like a pirate, and was standing in puke. And I loved him more than I loved myself.
I cleaned and disinfected. (I washed my feet.) I carried a bundle to the laundry. By six o'clock, Luke had fallen asleep on the bed in our "art room." (Yes, a bed in the art room. Disaster lurks around every corner at our house.)
When his father came home, he gave him a blessing.
The next morning, Thursday, Luke was better. He was chipper and playful and totally fine.
That morning I read the remainder of Matthew 14. Jesus feeds the five thousand, and then sends the multitude away and sends his disciples to get into a ship. And, "...he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."
I don't know why this moved me so much, but finally Jesus gets to be alone. I guess I felt a little bit of compassion for Jesus.
"But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary."
"And in the fourth watch of the night, Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea."
When I've read this passage before (and what follows), I’ve always been struck by Peter’s impetuous nature, going to the Savior on the water. I've always been struck by the need to keep my eyes on the Savior lest I sink into the water. I've always been struck by the Savior who immediately rescues Peter. But this time, as I read this passage, I noted the footnote of verse 25, which explains that the fourth watch is between three and six in the morning. That is so late. I've needed the Savior to come to me in the literal late hours.
He did not come immediately, but he came. And I think He knew He would come. And so when he asks Peter, “wherefore didst thou doubt?” I think He’s saying: I am the Savior. I am a sure thing, surer than the water that sucks you under, surer than any inky depths. How can you doubt me?
And I think He is saying that to me: I am the Savior, and I am a sure thing, surer than any water, or devil, or trial, or inherited personality trait. I will save you and I will save yours; my promises and our covenants are sure.
I had asked Heavenly Father to help me to love Luke more like He loves Luke. First, I need to serve him, and maybe not in a fluffy, “I made you cookies!” kind of way. I need to serve him when he needs it. And I need to feel his need in a personal, not removed, kind of way --standing in the puke, so to speak.
And I need to love him from a faithful place, not from a place of fear, knowing that Jesus will walk on the water to me or to Luke, and even if it isn't until the fourth watch, it will still be okay.
(By the way, I do not believe that Luke was struck with a stomach bug just so I could have an obvious object lesson.)