It's that time of year when many of Clara's ongoing doctor appointments show up on our calendar. Every June and December we are faced with those twice a year appointments that are B.R.U.T.A.L. Completely necessary, but horribly emotional for everyone.
Last week week, the eye doctor, and this week, the dentist.
Just hold me.
Last Tuesday's eye exam started off well. Clara was cooperating and generally tolerating the wires that hung from her head. But after thirty minutes of arms restrained while various lenses are being held up to her eyes, she started to fight.
And after that first test came the dilation for her retina check and not only did the fighting continue, it increased in intensity. Imagine three adults tag-teaming a 55 pound six-year-old to get the job done. Brandon laying over her restraining her legs and arms. Her head being held firmly and tightly, by me, to keep her from continually banging her head against the floor. And the doctor prying her eyes open as wide as possible to get the best look at the state of her retina.
Sweet Camille was there ("I just want to be with you and sister and daddy today.") instead of school and at one point tears filled her eyes and she quietly and appropriately excused herself from the room to sit in the hallway, Brandon and I looking at each other knowing a debriefing was in our future.
In the car on the way home my conversation with Camille went something like this . . .
"I know that was hard to see, wasn't it, Camille?"
"How did it make you feel watching Clara get so upset?"
"It made me sad and scared."
"Is that why you left the room to wait in the hallway?"
"Yes, mommy, I just wanted it to be over and for Clara to smile again."
"I want you to know it's hard for mommy and daddy, too, sweetie. We absolutely hate having to put Clara through these appointments. It's tricky, because there is no logical way to explain to her what we are trying to do."
"Because God made her different?"
"Yes, exactly, sweetie. When you go to the doctor we talk about it beforehand, you understand what will happen and can cooperate with the doctor, even if you're scared. With Clara, while we do tell her beforehand what is going to happen, her brain doesn't process like yours, and so she fights us as a way to protect herself. She fights us because she is scared and thinks we are trying to hurt her. But you understand that we would never, ever, do anything at these appointments that would hurt sister, right? What the doctor was trying to do doesn't actually hurt at all."
"I wish she would just relax, mommy, to know that you are just trying to take care of her."
Out of the mouths of babes, you guys, because it hit me.
This is exactly how we, in our humanness, relate to God at times. We keep fighting, fighting, fighting, banging our head and throwing our fists in His face because we don't understand what in the world He could possibly be doing in our lives. We fight, instead of relaxing in the arms of the one who cares for us day in and day out. We fight and throw tantrums because the lack of control feels scary, instead of pausing long enough to look in His eyes and realize He is just trying to take care of us.
Friends, everything He is doing, even when it doesn't make sense, is really for our good and protection. All of it.
It's the fighting that intensifies the stress of our circumstances.
Life, parenting, it is hard for all of us, in unique ways, so please don't think I am over-simplifying this response.
But, we have a choice.
We can choose to fight because our brains literally can't make sense of our circumstances, or we can choose to rest in faith and trust and the overarching hope that He who began a good work in us will carry it through to completion." (Philippians 1:6)
We can choose like those who came before us to "perservere because we see him who is invisible." (Hebrews 11:27)
So . . . Let's take the advice of a wise four-year-old and relax and notice all the ways our Father is taking care of us.
And let's all just say a prayer Clara can do a bit more relaxing this Thursday at the dentist. :)