Sunrise over the ocean, Ocean Grove, NJ

For the past several months, our family has been undergoing a lot of sickness. It has been very stressful for all of us. Last night, I even cried myself to sleep.

Today was an especially trying day.   This morning I got a call from my oldest daughter telling me that she may have appendicitis (yes, a different daughter had surgery three weeks ago for a ruptured appendix).  As I drove back home from work,  I was telling my 13 year old son (who had a migraine at the time) all about his oldest sister.  He was silent for a moment and then he said, “Mom?” “Yes, Honey?” “Should we say a prayer for her?”  I almost started crying but said, “That’s a good idea”.  And so we prayed.  I almost burst out crying as we said The Lord’s Prayer but I composed myself until we  finished.  My son was sitting in the far back of our 15 passenger van, but he could tell I was wiping my eyes as we drove home.  His concern for his sister kept me going today. His little prayer reminds me of a scripture passage that I heard in church the other day.

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.  No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15:12-13

Sickness has a way of causing us to focus in on ourselves in a negative way, to make us feel sorry for ourselves, and to have a “poor me” attitude.  To love others as Jesus did is to keep our focus on others, to push down our desire to focus in on ourselves but instead pay attention to someone else and love that person.  In following his example, we become the best version of ourselves.

Though he was suffering from a migraine, my son was concerned with his sister.  That act of love  helped remind me to focus on my daughter and to be there for her.  My son’s simple example is helping to keep me from being a whiny, complaining person in light of all the craziness that is going on in my house.

Later, as I drove my daughter from the doctor’s office to the hospital, I jokingly said to her, “Somewhere in here, there is a lesson to be learned”.  Now that I am sitting here, at the end of the day, I realized that the lesson was taught by a 13 year old boy.