From the bedroom of the house we were renting in Florida, I heard the crash of chairs and the wall buckle from across the house. I darted out, only to find my mom on the floor, cane at her side, the victim of another fall. I picked her up, dusted her off, pressed her to my chest, and told her it was going to be alright. This scene played out more than once for me this past summer.
There is the moment in life where your own parents grow weak enough to have you come running to pick them up. Yes, the ones for whom you used to call to come running and pick you up, are now calling you to come running. This transition is one of life’s most difficult ones. My parents, once so robust and so strong, have grown older. Live long enough, and it will happen to us all.
As I was picking my mom up off the ground and held her, my mind darted back to those days when she used to come running to pick me up off the ground and hold me. She always came running…always. The image of a parent running to pick up their child after they have fallen, seems so wonderfully transcendent and right…and it is. These moments, though generally brought on by trauma we’d prefer to avoid, are some of life’s most divine gifts. The moment when your child’s tears soak into your shirt and run down your neck after you tell them everything will be alright, is one of life’s most therapeutic moments. It’s no surprise, this is by the design of our Heavenly Father. Just ask the father of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.
But sadly, in our fast-paced culture, the image of a child running to pick up their parent seems callous and unnatural. It can be tiresome and make even the strongest weary. It challenges every fiber of the relationship and pushes a level of trauma into our lives we would prefer to avoid. And yet strangely, these moments too, have this incredible ability to lift us above the ordinary, and make the miraculous out of the mundane. But if you allow yourself to be crushed by the weight of the burden, if you wish yourself to be somewhere else when life gets most difficult, you will miss the miracle of the mundane, the strength born out of weakness.
The Lord says in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.” It is generally at the corner “At my Wit’s End” that you meet the miraculous. It’s by design.
My mother and father walk slower these days. Sometimes with a cane, oftentimes with a limp. The responsibility of the transition grows with each passing day. The task of caring for aging parents is among life’s greatest. 1 Timothy 5:4 tells us, “…show godliness at home…take care of your parents. This is something that pleases God.” There lies the secret to finding the miracles among some of life’s most difficult and mundane tasks. God’s pleasure.
My parents deserve every ounce of my energy to come running. They always came running to me, and they still do. Whether I’m parenting them or they’re still trying to parent me, the effort is worth it. But it’s worth it most of all, not because anything is owed, but simply because it pleases God. And no matter what it may be for you, it is in these daily, seemingly mundane, but faithful tasks of choosing to show up, even when life gets hard, that we find most of the miracles...simply because this pleases God. The wonder is not always in the headlines of the most desirable. Sometimes it’s just on the other side of some of the most challenging.