They asked my daughter to lie down on the gurney at the urgent care clinic and hold her two-year-old son, who was secured tightly in a papoose. But I could immediately tell that was not going to work. He was freaked out because he couldn’t see his momma, and her third-trimester belly was making for an unfit surface for a papoose.
It was one week since the boy on a push trike had toppled into the edge of the dishwasher, resulting in a split lip, lots of blood, and an unplanned trip to town for four stitches. His dad was able to go on that emergency trip but wasn’t able to go for the stitch removal appointment, so it fell to the mom and the grandma.
I offered to lie down on the gurney, and they placed that screaming little boy in the papoose on top of me. It was my job to hold his arms still. Oh my word. Is there any kind of training for moments like that? You just do what you have to do. But I could feel his arms shaking and stiffen when it hurt to get those stitches out, and I had to choke back tears. He couldn’t see me, you know. He had no idea the person holding him tight was the same grandma who kisses his cheeks and cuts his strawberries and snuggles him while we read books.
The matter was made worse by the scab that had developed, and the doctor said something about getting a razor to remove it. (Dear medical professionals, could you please come up with some kind of code language to use for such things in front of moms and grandmas? Thank you.)
It’s an interesting profession–having to purposefully cause distress and pain in order to help someone heal, especially for a little guy who doesn’t understand why his arms and head are being held down. I steeled myself for that one hour, knowing we adults had to make the choice that was best for the healing of the split lip. (Also to medical professionals: you are amazing. Thank you for taking care of us. If there were a tip jar, I would have dropped a five into it that day.)
One Scripture verse comes to mind, as I tearfully reflect on the pain of having to gently but firmly restrain my own grandbaby:
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:6 NIV)
Here is the truth about following God: often he has to hurt us to help us. We are wounded, sick people who need tending in order to become whole. This requires unpleasant procedures. As a wordsmyth, I would like to edit this to make it softer, but there can be no editing this time.
Sometimes God has to hurt us to help us.
His loving hand has to become heavy, and we feel like a child strapped to a hard papoose, unable to find the warm arms of love and unable to understand what is happening to us and why it has to be this way.
But if moms and grandmas and medical professionals know what is best for a little guy, surely our Creator knows what is best for us. We can know that in due time, when the necessary work of perseverance and growth is done in our souls, he will release the restraint, give us a rest from the pain of suffering, and let us feel his embrace.
It’s all for our good.
If you’re hurting, I understand. Be still. Humble yourself in this season under the mighty (but oh so loving and kind) hand of God. He’s taking care of you, and you’re going to be okay. Go ahead and cry out in pain, but don’t lose hope. Love is still there, closer to you than he has ever been.