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Lessons from the trashcan

Seventeen years ago – Friday, January 13th – Michael asked me a question. I said yes. Then I threw up.
Eleven months and sixteen {very long} days later, I sat on a stool in an enormous white gown, waiting for my cue. And I threw up. Thankfully my mother read the lead-in signals correctly and grabbed a trashcan. A very beautiful, painted, bride’s-room trashcan. We realized years later that no one ever cleaned it out. So to the custodian of that particular church, I profusely apologize for my nervous stomach and my inconsideration. I was a little distracted.
But at least my vomit made it to the trashcan. Thinking about the alternative launches me into a burst of loud humming to drown out the mental picture.
With the birth of each child came more vomit. Poor Nathan took it on the head. It’s just how we roll. Significant life experience yields stomach content emergence.
Today is another Friday the 13th. And I am sitting at home with my six year old mini-Michael, who is throwing up. Strange twist of irony, no? He’s marking this significant day with his own projectiles. Maybe it’s revenge for throwing up on his head when he was six hours old.
My dear friend, Caroline, told me recently about a miraculous regimen she follows every time one of her kids has a stomach bug. Her friend’s doctor told her friend, who told Caroline, who told me – which is why I was texting her at 11:00 last night to get the specifics in writing. Or texting. Whatever.
Here it is:
After vomit, wait one hour. Then give one teaspoon of Gatorade (not red or orange), wait fifteen minutes, one more teaspoon of Gatorade, repeat at that pace for one hour. Then increase Gatorade to two teaspoons every fifteen minutes. At this point, you can also interchange ice water with the Gatorade. Then, as long as he isn’t pale or listless, after eight hours of no vomit, start the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) in very small servings. Wait an hour or two, then give him five or six crackers. Then wait another hour or two before giving any more food – BRAT only. Continue giving two teaspoons of Gatorade/ice water every fifteen minutes throughout the day. Twenty-four hours after the last vomit, progress to a modified BRAT diet, including yogurt with cultures and dry cereal.
Voila. Miraculous healing. And no more vomit.
Caroline warned me not to deviate. When she has deviated, she said, she ends up with a face mask and bucket of soapy water. For the love of all that is fragrant and sanitary, do not deviate! No matter how he whines and protests or even if he is jumping on the furniture and acting completely healthy. Do not give in.
Try telling that to a six year old. I’m huuuuungwy! I’m thuuuuuhsty! Can’t I have just a little bite of cheese! I want some gwanooooolaaaaa!
Baby, if Mama let you eat granola, then two of us would be hugging the potty. Because Daddy is at work, and Mommy has an evil sense of smell and a hypersensitive gag reflex, and Daddy is the official vomit cleaner-upper, so since he’s not here, we cannot deviate
He needs to trust me on this one.
We have some close friends who are in the middle of a big mess – similar to the one we were in several years ago. God led them to a specific decision, they faithfully prayed and followed and trusted and obeyed – then the whole thing went an entirely different, unexpected direction. What do you do with that? 
Caroline herself has quite a story, and she’s still writing it. Life doesn’t make sense. God doesn’t make sense. What do you do with that?
What do you do when you’re stuck on Saturday – between the awful and the miraculous?
I know what I want to do. I want to stomp my feet and shake my fists and sneak into the pantry and grab some granola.
But that would be bad. Very, very bad. Vomit kind of bad.
So you stay the course. You don’t deviate. You sip Gatorade and nibble on a banana until the stomach virus surrenders. You trust the One who loves you, even when all you want is a bowl of cereal and a stick of cheese.
Don’t misread me: it’s not about following rules. That’s not at all what I’m implying. Jesus was very clear: the heart weighs more than the checklist. It’s not about maintaining a list of dos and don’ts; it’s about trusting Him, knowing Him, loving Him, loving others. Not necessarily in that order. So often life has nothing to do with the circumstance and everything to do with our character. It’s not about making the path straight, it’s about transforming who we are into more of who He wants us to be – who we are meant to be.
Three facts:
  1. He is omniscient – all-knowing. Nothing is hidden from Him. Nothing.
  2. He is omnipotent – all-powerful. He holds in His hand the ability to do all things. Nothing is too big for Him to handle. Nothing.
  3. He is Love. He is incapable and unwilling to do anything or allow anything that is not rooted in His deep, deep love for us. Everything stems from His great big love for us. Everything.
Clinging to these truths, we can walk an uncertain road. We can step with confidence. We can endure the Gatorade and wait for the granola – because stomach viruses don’t last forever, and our mamas know best.
And fragrant and sanitary is soooo much better than a vomit-filled trashcan.

One thought on “Lessons from the trashcan

  1. LOVE this!! And I always (always, always) need reminding of His pure and simple goodness! I appreciate the props. And even more so, I thank you so much, dear friend, for being my bucket sista! LOVE YOU!

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