Fires have been raging in certain parts of the country and my son's head is pounding from the same summer heat that is causing them. As I attempt to find ways to help, I realize how helpless I am when circumstances become out of my control.
He's doubled over on the couch, crying out that his head hurts. Water seems to make the most sense, so I reach for a cup out of the kitchen cupboard, fill it with cold water, and walk over to my oldest son in hopes it will hydrate him from the scorching heat we had earlier in the day.
He continues to cry holding his forehead, so I quickly retrieve the Children's IB Profren and pour 2 teaspoons of liquid into the cup. He swallows it and I place a cold wash cloth on his forehead.
I observe that this is not a regular headache and I wish desperately I can take his anguish away. I've done everything I can think of and my imagination is tempted to take me to places I fear the most. I tell myself that this is not a brain tumor or cancer because it really was hot outside and he just didn't get enough fluids.
I know that worry is not the solution, that it will add nothing to this circumstance. I know that scripture tells me to be anxious about nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, to make my requests known to God. (Phil 4:6)
So I pray and wait.
Three other children are running circles around us, climbing over chairs and I'm oblivious, as I focus on one; oblivious until I hear the pound of my two-year-old hitting the floor from the back of the leather arm chair next to me.
I rush over to her and she can't catch a breath -- and then begins wailing. And from the couch comes an even louder wail.
"It's just getting worse," he cries.
And everything can seem to come down on us all at once. What is bad gets worse and not just one catastrophe, but yet another. And this can seem endless.
I sit back down next to him, holding and rocking the littlest chanting, "Sh-sh-sh," close to her ear. The other uninjured two are a bit calmer now. I put one hand back on the washcloth over the boy's forehead and pray quietly again.
And then I pray out loud because it occurs to me that I want him to know that I'm praying for him. I want him to know that he can go to his Heavenly Father for anything.
Quiet prayer can simply look like silent belief and yet, silent belief may really be the product of a lingering doubt. The doubt that this prayer will be answered; doubt that prayer can transform my child's belief like it can change the pattern of our weather or bring restoration to a grieving heart.
And when we really believe in the power of something, is it even possible to be silent about it?
I finish praying aloud and he immediately calms his cry to a whimper. After about a minute he says that it's not so bad anymore. It just feels like a regular headache now. He tries to get up to eat the graham crackers and milk I had laid out for him at the kitchen bar before he doubled over onto the couch. I tell him to drink some more water and rest for a couple more minutes.
I leave the room for a few minutes to settle the other three into bed and come back to find him fast asleep. I take the wash cloth off of his forehead, wedge my hands under his arms pits and lift him up to carry him to bed. He's almost as long as me, with his head on my shoulder. I set him down in front of his bunk bed and he groggily says that he feels better now. I feel grateful and relieved, as I kiss him goodnight and exit the room.
A couple of minutes later he steps back out and whispers, "Thanks, mom, for helping to cure my headache."
And as I witness everything back to normal again and as we receive word that fires are becoming contained, I realize there are things that we can and should do when life feels out of control, yet sometimes the best we are able to do is to speak up and teach each other to pray.
Sharing with A Holy Experience, Finding Heaven, The Better Mom, The Wellspring, Graceful, A Pause on the Path, Works for me Wednesday, Women Living Well, Getting Down with Jesus, and Raising Arrows