I had a plan yesterday morning. When I got back from the gym at 5:30, I was going to write until 7:00 a.m. But it was not to be. A baby and his dirty diaper was going to ruin it all.
After I got home, my wife left to teach her class at the gym. I said goodbye and sat down in the living room with my laptop in front of me. As I typed, the words started flowing for about ten minutes, but then they abruptly stopped. I thought I heard my one-year-old son crying.
No, that can't be right. He never wakes up at 5:50 a.m. And even if it is him, he's probably cooing — not crying — before going back to sleep.
I kept typing, and the words flowed for another three minutes before they abruptly stopped again. It was definitely my son and he was definitely crying.
I just need to give him some warm milk and he'll go back to sleep. Then I'll finish writing.
I took him some milk, which worked like a charm, but it only worked if I kept holding him. So I stood there with him in my arms as he gradually grew more widely awake, and eventually realized I wasn't going to be writing. But writing was about to be the least of my concerns.
The Blow Up
I went back downstairs and decided to make scrambled eggs for breakfast, feeling grateful that my son was staring at me from the kitchen floor, rather than crying. I put the eggs in the hot pan and then realized why he was staring so hard: He was pooping his pants. That's when I heard the squirt.
He started getting fussy, but the eggs were already halfway finished cooking. I figured he could wait on the diaper while I finished up the eggs, so I went ahead and kept cooking. Big mistake.
I picked him up and held him with one arm while doing my best to use the spatula with the other. That's when I felt something wet on my arm. The diarrhea was leaking through his pajama pants.
I turned off the stove, abandoning my partially cooked eggs. Then I carried my son to the bathtub, holding him away from me like he was a dirty washcloth.
During the process of trying to undress my son and getting diarrhea on my fingers, a quote came to mind. It was from a friend whose teenage son had angrily yelled, "You never did anything for me."
I've never accused my parents of doing nothing for me, but I certainly didn't realize how much they did do until I became a parent. Even yesterday in the midst of my son's diarrhea debacle, the thought came to mind, My mom got my poop on her fingers. Gross.
While many of us grow up and belatedly realize just how much we were served as children, none of us will ever be able to sympathize with God. We'll never be able to fully relate to a Dad who allowed His Son to bleed to death for people who didn't deserve it. We'll never be able to appreciate the humiliating downgrade it was for Jesus to be stuck in a limited, vulnerable human body here on earth. We won't know — we can't know — and that's the way it ought to be for any well loved child.
Personally, I don't want my kids to feel guilty or obligated for the ways I provide for them. Changing diapers, spending thousands of dollars to clothe and feed them, waking up to comfort them in the middle of the night, holding the garbage can while they throw up, holding them while they cry, and watching Frozen with them one more time — in the words of the late country music singer Conway Twitty, "That's my job, that's what I do."
Our heavenly Father wants our praise, but He doesn't need it to stay motivated to love us unconditionally. He's OK with getting our spiritual diarrhea on His hands without us noticing. He's a Dad. He is love. That's His job. That's what He does.