We had plans to go visit The Italian sister-in-law, and family, one weekend. So, of course, it was only fitting that Sweetboy came home with The Big Question on his lips.
“Do I look sick, mama?”
This is one of his current perseverations, along with anything to do with shorts, and an abhorrence to any potential puking. (Although, to be fair, I don’t know anyone who loves the sound of retching!)
When the child is suffering from allergies, he will ask us 246 times, between the hours of waking and sleeping, if he looks sick. He will have us check his throat with a flashlight almost as many times. The forehead thermometer gets quite the workout, too.
If someone in his class gets sick during his school day, he walks in the door informing us about it. He gets his snack wondering if he’ll get sick. He does his homework, pausing periodically to ask, “Do I look sick”? During dinner, he’ll stop eating long enough to ask if we think him eating his dinner will make him sick. As he showers, he pokes his head out of the shower door to ask us to confirm that he doesn’t look sick. The child will lay in his bed agonizing over whether he is going to fall ill next.
His preoccupation with the possibility of becoming sick, during these times, is so intense, that it’s easy to lose patience with him. I mean, by the twelfth time he poses the question (within one hour!), there aren’t many creative ways to say, “Nope”, left.
Ultimately, though, how could I get angry about this? Because, I ask this question of My Father, all. the. time!
“Remove that thought from your mind, child,” He wisely suggests.
“Show that friend the grace I show you, daughter,” He gently reminds.
“Practice hospitality for her even though you feel exhausted today,” He encourages.
I bristle at all the prompting, sometimes.
“But, God, do I look sick?”
I don’t, of course.
Not to the mamas waiting at the bus stop with me. Not to my exercise buddies as we huff and puff together in the mornings. Not to the cashier swiping my Devil Dogs through the scanner. Not to my online Bible study team as we reason out ways to best highlight an important principle.
No, I don’t look sick.
It doesn’t mean I’m not, though.
Sometimes, I’m sick at heart over hurting another who needed mercy. Other times I find myself sick to death of bearing incessant questions with patience. Even physical sickness, itself, rears its ugly head once in a while.
“It is not the healthy people who need a doctor, but the sick. I did not come to invite good people but to invite sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
And so, as we returned from the urgent care with a positive rapid strep test the next morning, he didn’t even bother asking the question. He had his confirmation.
Just as I have mine.