Love that gets messy

Nathan is sick. He has had a runny nose and been out of school the past couple of days. This afternoon after he dropped a 13 inch television on his foot (his foot is fine, but it sort of freaked me out) he and I were sitting in the bed and he tells me, “Daddy, a bird flew in my ear and made it hurt and made me yawn.” So I ask him if his ear hurts and he says that it does.

We are going to the beach this weekend so I wanted to get some medicine as soon as possible so he will be well when we are there so Meredith called the doctor and got us an afternoon appointment. The whole hour long drive to the pediatrician Nathan just looks pitiful. Several times he tells me that his ear hurts and that he doesn’t feel good. This isn’t normal Nathan sick behavior so I know he must be in some pain.

At the doctor the pediatrician can’t see into his ear so he needs to get the little scrapper hoop thing. If you have never experienced holding your child while this is being used just trust me it isn’t a pleasant experience. Nathan’s ear is so inflamed that immediately it starts bleeding and still it isn’t cleaned out so I have a slobbering, snoting, bleeding kid on my lap who is trying to kick the doctor away from him and all I can think is that I have to keep his thrashing head still so that he doesn’t puncture his ear drum. It was a very rough moment.

But once Nathan was calmed down he felt much better. The pressure that was in his ear was gone and he was ready to go get a toy and eat pizza. Our Target trip was fun (we got a remote controlled Mario Kart that is very cool) and the Brick Oven pizza was nice even if I did need to keep wiping blood that would occasionally run out of Nathan’s ear.

His ear bleed off and on as we drove home too and he would tell me that he “had red stuff” again and when I would tell him it was blood he would say, “No! Red stuff!”

Anyway, that is a lot of story to get to my point. As he is getting ready for bed we try to get him to take his medicine. I wasn’t in the room but I hear the unmistakable sounds of Nathan throwing up. I am holding Noah so I go and put him in his bed and try to do what I can without getting regurgitated pizza on me.

I take Nathan to the bathroom and take off his clothes. He is miserable. He is crying uncontrollably. He has snot on his face and on his chest. He has vomit on his legs and arms. I run some water trying to get him cleaned up, but he is beside himself with tears. So I just pick him up and hold him, snot, tears, vomit and all. I pick him up and whisper to him and sing to him and tell him everything would be OK. I got messy in the process, but he needed me to love him more than he needed to be clean right then.

I think God treats us this way sometimes too. He wants us to be clean. He has a better life for us and a better way of doing things, but sometimes when it seems like everything is falling apart He just whispers comfort to us even though or probably because we are so messy.

That love that God has for us–love that isn’t afraid to get messy–love that was proved on the cross–is the love that we should have for others. Are you willing to get messy in order to let someone know that they are loved?


UPDATE: We found out several weeks later that Nathan actually had a little felt ball stuck in his ear. Yes, we didn’t discover it for weeks!

2 thoughts on “Love that gets messy

  • September 16, 2009 at 6:14 AM

    I think God does … (pour love on us despite my stench). Reading this entry from the beginning to the end, I saw God and me and the scrapes I get into. Thank you for sharing this, you and your son have touched my heart.


  • September 27, 2009 at 5:17 AM

    Sometimes it seems like we shy away from getting messy – from getting in the water, or sitting in the dirt – and helping someone else. "Don’t want to get dirty." Your stories and how you show us God in them, help me so much to remember and think about whether I am there to hold someone, no matter how messy it might be or if I’m standing on the side. Thank you Shane.


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