I live in a soggy state. I guess that can have two meanings. My state of being is soggy. That’s definitely true. Haven’t you noticed that having kids makes you wet? Runny-nose wet, squirted-juice-box wet, “uh-oh-I-had-an-accident” wet. Yeah, my state of being is definitely soggy.
But I was actually talking about Washington State—where I live. We’ve had tons of precipitation that has flooded many of our waterways. The other day on the news I watched as rescue swimmers jumped into a rushing river to help three stranded teenagers to safety.
I’m a rescue worker myself. Aren’t you? My kids don’t need to call 9-1-1 to reach me. One cry of, “I stuck, Mama!” sends me running to release a jammed baby from her high chair. “I need to go potty and my pants won’t come down!” will also nab my attention—and my fingers in quick response to undo a sticky snap or wedged zipper.
And then there’s that screaming cry that implies physical pain. Last night at church my four-year-old son got himself stuck. When my husband followed the sounds of his wails through the foyer and down the hallway, he discovered a chubby flailing arm sticking out of the ladies’ bathroom. Those doors are heavy, and Christian had somehow gotten his arm lodged. My husband bounded to the rescue, released the victim’s stuck appendage, and brought the little guy to safety. Face red from crying, Christian’s sore arm wrapped around his rescuer’s neck in a relieved hug.
Sometimes my rescue missions are a bit less dramatic than those, like when my seven-year-old daughter’s heart requires the healing that only a snuggle from mama can give. Or when my older son needs me to halt my busyness, look him in the eyes, and actively listen. “So you feel like you have too much schoolwork today? That would be hard.” “You get frustrated when the little kids take your Gameboy? I’m sorry. I wouldn’t like that either.” Then end with tickles, because he’s never too old for tickles.
I like being a rescue worker. It’s a privilege to “save” my kids from their “dire” circumstances, but sometimes I need rescuing too. This week was hard. A lot of yucky things happened—I made a mistake on a manuscript I was editing; my latest chapter of my novel did not go well; I had a night of insomnia; I felt a cold coming on; my son and I weren’t getting along; and well, I just felt grumpy.
In times like these I long for someone to sweep me out of the muck and helicopter me to peaceful tranquility. I’d like to say that happened, but it didn’t. Rather than a sudden rush of peace, like my hugs and quiet conversations with my kids, God was simply there with me. And trusting that the week would end, I’d eventually feel better, and that despite my whacked-out emotions, the truth is that God already has rescued me—by loving me unconditionally because of His unmerited grace—helped disloge my stuck and troubled mind from the crisis at hand. And brought me back to a place of gratitude and joy, kinda like Christian's red-faced hug.