Tonight after leaving Mass as I was driving in the car with Ava, she began to cry. She does this so infrequently that it honestly breaks my heart to hear her. She almost never cries “hysterically” and tonight got herself so worked up that no amount of soothing from the front seat could help her. I tried to reach back and stroke her cheek or hold her hand till I could pull off the highway and get us to a safe place, but it was no use. She worked herself up into such a frenzy that she started throwing up and choking.
As her once cries instantly became silent in the backseat, I nervously called her name, “Ava? Ava? Can you hear me? Are you ok?” I could not pull the car over on the highway fast enough. My heart was breaking. She has cried like this only less than a handful of times and each time I cannot help it, as I start to cry with her. Shaun even has to take her sometimes as he watches the tears start to roll down my face, because he knows it’s breaking my heart. He’ll say “Come here baby, Mommy can’t take it to see you so sad”
I bent down to look at her covered in mucus and milk with tears running down her cheeks and she looked up at me with such a desperate expression and so much sadness in that little face usually filled with so much joy. I wanted to scoop her out of her seat so badly, but knew it was nighttime on the highway and instead I needed to get us off an exit to a safe place. It was so hard to fight against all my instincts to protect and console her and instead to leave her there in her misery and get back into the front of the car to find the nearest exit while she continued to cry and cry, wondering why I was leaving her there.
I’m still not sure what was bothering her. Maybe it was her teeth or maybe she was scared of the dark in the backseat all alone, or her stomach hurt, whatever it was, I just wanted her to know I was there and I loved her and she was safe and I would make it better as soon as I could. My poor little thing.
As soon as I could find a safe place I pulled over and as fast as I could I took her out of her seat into my arms. I held her close and she cried and cried until her little sobs calmed with the comfort of knowing she was safe again in my arms. I nursed her till she fell asleep thinking all the while of how I dreaded putting her back into her seat to go home. I hoped she’d sleep through it. No luck.
As soon as I put her back into her seat, she started up again. I drove as quickly (and yet as safely) as I could thinking the whole time how I wished I could get her there faster. It was not because I was aggravated and wished she’d stop crying, but because I really wanted to take her in my arms and help her to know that she was safe.
When we got home and I walked through the door with her, she instantly calmed. She knew she was home. She knew she was safe. Happiness and contentment returned and after singing her a few songs and rocking her to sleep, she was out early for the night.
This was a miserable experience for both of us. She probably won’t remember it at all, but I will. I kept thinking afterwards of how this must be a glimmer of what God the Father feels like when his children are suffering.
Sometimes we’re in the “darkness” in our lives and lose sight of how close he really is. The journey seems endless that we are on; when in fact it’s as short as he can possibly make it for us. He is there; very close by and yet we cannot see Him. He may be trying to console us and through our misery we cannot hear or feel him. We feel alone, in the dark. Yet in all of this he is suffering with us. Watching our agony and listening to our cries.
Sometimes he must permit our suffering to go on just a little longer until he can bring us to a point where he can remove it for good. This also causes Him pain, to know that he must permit our trial to endure when he would like to remove it at that moment, but it would not be for our greater good.
And imagine Him watching us while we may be thinking that He is in fact the cause of our agony and is intentionally leaving us in our misery, when all he really wants to do is console us… this must break His heart.
He may bring us moments of reprieve in our suffering and let us know his presence, love and safety before beginning our journey again. Yet in all our cries if only we would be assured that he is with us the whole time, listening, enduring our suffering with us and bringing us to a place where he can relieve our pain.
If only we could see how He sees and trust him. In the end, in His time, if we cling to him and allow him to lift us with his loving arms up from our misery, he will bring us home and give us rest.
I keep listening to this song and thinking of how it expresses that there are times when we feel like we are called to be "great" and do "great things" and have incredible faith and be strong... and there are other times when we are "weak" and need to just be His child and just be comforted and be vulnerable. The closer we allow ourselves to cling to Him, the more he teaches us how to live...