I sat in the doctor's office today. A routine allergy shot. A nuisance in a full week. Or a calm half hour on my own - depends how I look at it. Some days, the room is full of cheerful conversation between us "regulars". Other days, it is quiet - people reading books, dozing, nursing cups of coffee.
Today was a quiet day. No sounds. No restless kids. No chatting patients. Silence reigned in the office. Three quiet women and one young mother with a sleeping newborn sitting. Then from the offices, came a little girl. She couldn't have been more than two years old, tiny and petite. Every detail on her was fine and small, like a painted porcelain doll on a shelf. She turned towards the mother with the baby with a troubled face, "Mommy, it hurted!" Tears rested in her eyes, but not one had trickled down her face. We had not even heard one noise from the back rooms. She must have had her allergy tests - involving many little pokes and red itching.
Her mom looked up at the dad and down at the little girl. She stood there while both parents whispered to her that she had done well and they were proud. She stood brave and quiet with no tears initially, but as she moved closer to her mom, her bottom lip began to quiver and one lonely tear snaked down her cheek. The mom leaned over to put her head on her daughter, her hands full of the new baby. As soon as the mom touched her, more tears followed down the path of the first. It was all over, but the crying did not come until there was comfort again.
Still the girl was so well-composed for a tiny tike. She then crawled up in the chair beside the mom while the dad fussed over her quietly whispering to her, producing the inevitable chocolate bar that had been promised as a treat, and gently putting on her boots and mitts. The dad did an amazing job with her - to walk her through that doctor's visit on his own. He impressed us all.
But she sat in the chair beside her mom while her boots were being tied and looked up once more at her mommy. "But it really did hurt, mommy."
In the waiting room, we all watched. We all smiled at her. We all wanted to reach over and give her the hug her mother couldn't with her arms full of baby. This tiny specimin of humanity trying to be so brave.... she was adorable.
As they walked out the door, I thought "that is exactly how I feel." For the last few weeks, I've been scolding myself for not feeling more happy. Why do I feel like crying at odd moments? It is all over. The worst is over, and things are so much better. I should be happy. The hurt is done. But I feel like crying still so often. My lip quivers when I look up at God, and I still am saying, "that really hurt!"
What I noticed today was that none of us in that room felt like scolding the little girl. There was no negative reaction to her at all. It would have been a crazy response! We all, unanimously, wanted to comfort her, to scoop her up and hug her - "you've been so brave. It's all over. You did good. I know it hurt. I'm proud of you."
Yet I scold myself for those very same words. "It hurted."
It was just a little lesson in God's love. He is not sitting there telling me to "get over it" and "get on with life" or to "feel happy now, it's over". He is sitting there waiting to comfort me for the hurt. It was tough. It hurt. It is over now, and I made it through, and it is ok to cry.
I think, too, one of the difficulties in being a mother is that when you go through rough times like this last year has been for me, you have to focus so much on your kids - are they alright, are you strong enough for them, are you doing all you can, are you protecting them? It leaves little time to process your own feelings. Now my feelings come. Now because I am safe. Because I can relax.
And when I walk in with my lip quivering and tears swimming in my eyes, God is ready to scoop me up and hold me.