During my trip to Seattle, I made the decision to road-trip alone with the two kiddos to see our family down in Oregon. It was great to be with the family I have been lucky to inherit via Doug. It was also great to stay with good L.A. friends who relocated to Portland about a year ago. While the trip was very, very fun it was not without a few “what was I thinking” moments where the stress levels ran a bit high.
There was one night in particular when my baby simply would not go to sleep. Since the three of us were sharing a bedroom, I was not fond of the option of letting him cry himself to sleep since that would most certainly come at the cost of a very awake Mercy Lucille. So I was rocking and bouncing and feeding and shushing and “nuk”-ing the little guy but to no avail. He ceased being a small baby months ago so my back ached, my arms felt like they were going to fall off, and my emotions were raw. This was coming off of a difficult ending to my day with Dad and Donna (dinner hour meets a tired and manic Mercy in a house full of beautiful decorative pieces), a difficult phone conversation with someone I care about, and frightening news from my family concerning a trip to the ER for my mom.
It was in the midst of this that Erik came up to me and said, “Here, let me give it a try,” and he lifted Aaron out of my arms. I collapsed onto the couch with Susie while Erik began a ritual of walking and singing with Aaron in the kitchen and on the back porch of their house. Susie, who had turned on The Daily Show, turned to me and said, “Do you want a beer?’ and I’m pretty sure the moment required no verbal answer on my part.
At one point I started to feel bad for Erik because Jon Stewart was so hilarious that I felt bad for anyone missing it, but Susie reminded me that Erik had offered and that he would come in if he needed a break. So I sat, cozy with my Blue Heron and some scathing irreverance, and put up my feet and laughed.
I realized that something has seriously changed in me in this past year. A year ago, there is no way that I could have sat, let alone enjoyed myself, while someone else took over a burden that was rightfully mine. I would have stalked such a person, pleading to have my burden back, miserable in my guilt over being served. That is the way pride plays, and those of us who suffer from it have such a difficult time seeing it for what it is.
I’m not sure what has caused this change in me this year: desperation? exhaustion? disappointment? plain, unadulterated neediness?
I cannot help but think of Peter, the one who could not stomach receiving love through the washing of his weary feet. And yet he surely became the rock upon which was built the body of a crucified Lord.
There is hope.