No Right Click

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Choosing the Greater Need

Noah is all swaddled and tucked into bed when I leave his room to go get his bedtime medicine.  On the way, I visit Nora to take her empty nighttime bottle downstairs with me.  I stop and decide to brush her teeth before I go downstairs, so that she is all ready for bed.  While her teeth are being brushed, she gets herself all worked up, gags on the toothbrush, and starts to vomit.  I quickly lean her over the side of the tub in case she is not finished and then put her in the tub and take her putrid clothes off and rinse the vomit off of her face.  While she is contained in the tub, and Noah is still in bed, for a few seconds I wonder who to attend to first.  And the thought pops in my head, "Choose the one who is the least safe."  

Noah is safe in his bed.  He will have to wait longer for his medicine.  It will push back bedtime, but he is safe.  Nora is lying in the tub with vomit still on her, freezing from the lack of clothing (with little body fat, she gets cold very easily).  She has the greater need in this moment.  To be cleansed.  To be clothed.  To be tucked away safely in bed. 

It seems like a duh moment.  Of course, I should take care of the child that just vomited and still has her regurgitated dinner in her hair.  But in that moment I wondered.  I felt bad interrupting Noah's bedtime routine.  Getting his medicine and administering it would only take a few minutes.  It was such a helpful moment as a parent.  It required a choice when both of my children had needs at the same time, when I felt pulled in two different directions.  And the answer was to choose to attend to the child with the greater need.  

It was a chance to interrupt the routine and serve. What a helpful reminder from Susanna tonight,

Because in our wealthy, comfy, insulated, insured, paced, planned, leisure-time North American lives, it’s easier for us to follow Christ into arms’-length ”serving,” or “ministering,” the cherished core of our lives still preserved to us, than it is for us to follow Him into suffering and giving His life as a ransom for many.'

And you know what?  Noah was totally fine while he waited and was just as smiley and giggly thirty minutes later as when I first tucked him in bed.


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