Do you know what happened to me today?!
My son, my very own flesh and blood, the child of my heart, was hurt and upset and came into the house crawled right up into my lap with boo-hoo-hoo sobs, and…
Wiped his snot dripping nose and slobber-emitting mouth right across my shirt.
This was a full-on hit. The moist, mucousy slime went from upper breast to the top of the shoulder in a streak that nothing short of a trip through the Whirlpool is going to fix.
In an instant, I went from concern over the harm done to complete revulsion that I was tagged by germs. Snot germs. Slobber germs. Germy, germ germs that are yuckity yuck yuck yuck.
So there you have it. My compassion has limits.
(I don’t want to leave you hanging, the boy squished his fingers in the door and he was fine after proper applications of an ice pack and lavender and tea tree essential oil.)
You see, I’m one of those people who grew up being a hugger and then, sometime around college, decided that I’m really okay not hugging much at all. I’m okay not pressing my moistened armpit into your shoulder. Or getting close enough that I smell the lingering scent of your luncheon on your breath.
I’m good over here. I’ll wave to you from afar.
Having children has, of course, tested me on my germophobia and desire to steer clear of octopus-like entanglements. Our kids are such little love bugs and they will often come up and say things like, “I haven’t had enough snuggles today,” or “I just need a kiss to fill my heart up.” For the most part, I am thrilled to indulge them because I know that someday they’ll grow up and be embarrassed to show affection… and so I store these little moments up in my heart to bring out later when I want to reminisce.
But I’m not okay with being used as a literal Kleenex.
It pushes my limits.
However, here’s what I realized this evening as I changed out of my snot-streaked shirt… my son isn’t the only one who has been hurting today.
While we adults may hide our hurt a little more than a child, there are a number of people in my acquaintanceship circles who are hurting and maybe have snot-sobs leaking out of them right now.
I’m gonna be honest and say that if we were face to face I’d probably just pat you on the back and offer you a tissue. It’s unlikely I would encompass you in a whole body, lingering hug because that’s just not my style, but I can guarantee that I would care. I would probably cry right along with you, my friend, because I hear you.
48 hours ago I wrote a blog post that called out the scrutiny people have been getting for their social media interactions. Since I hit publish, double the number of people I already knew about have contacted me with stories that break my heart. I’ve cried tears of empathy over my keyboard.
These people are hurting. They’re scared to speak out. They feel like if they whisper a word of negativity to anyone, their salvation is at risk.
Friends, I can’t be there with you right now to personally give you a hug – and honestly it would probably be a really awkward hug anyway because I’m a relatively awkward person. BUT… I can thank you for your bravery, tell you it’s not always going to be this way, and point you to our Creator, who gives out the best hugs ever.
God is bigger than these circumstances. None of this is surprising to Him. He has a plan for you and that plan is beautiful. He may be moving you in order for His plan to come to fruition and, truthfully, no one typically moves until the pain of staying the same outweighs the pain of the change! But you can trust His plan is GOOD.
Also realize, Truth is divisive. If you’re speaking Truth, realize that Truth is almost always contentious. Don’t accept a mantle of shame of those words “divisive” or “contentious” from those who would prefer you be silent rather than tell the Truth – because fear and shame are not of the tools the Holy Spirit uses to convict us.
Since I can’t wrap you in a hug right now, my hurting friend, let me point you toward an even better comfort… words of Scripture as presented in one of my favorite books, Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore:
“I choose to cast my cares on You, Lord, and You will sustain me (Psalm 55:22) God, You are my refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore I WILL NOT FEAR, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging… I will be still and know You are God. You, Lord Almghty, are with me. You, God of Jacob, are my fortress. (Psalm 46:1-2, 10-11)