Going Home After The Terrible, Horrible, no Good, Very Bad Day
It was as the children’s book by Judith Viorst says, “A Terrible, Horrible, no Good, Very Bad Day.” My correctional unit which typically only restrained a child three to five times a year had just finished physically disarming our fifth kid. After deescalating the grounded Axel, we slowly placed the troubled youth into restraints on a gurney following the doctor’s orders. Exhausted, I sat down in the faded plastic chair that was the cinderblock room’s only furnishing to monitor Axel while he was in isolation. As I sat there in silence, something very bizarre happened.
Straining to lift his body only centimeters off the gurney, the youth stopped cursing at me and triumphantly said, “I bet you wish you were me!”
“What makes you say that?” I replied intrigued by the seeming insanity of the previous statement.
“Well, you had horrible day. You restrained me; I almost bit you; you had to do extra paperwork; you had to hate your life today.”
“True,” I responded. “Today, has been a really bad day. But here is what you don’t get. This is your life. You live here. I don’t. I’m going home at 5:00 PM.”
Unfortunately, we don’t have to be named Alexander or be a ward of the state to have a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” We get all that and more simply by being parents. Every day, most of us wrestle with sleep deprivation, busy schedules, and sickly children. We wonder if we’ve ruined or our kids by being too attached to our schedules or if we warped them by being too relaxed. And inevitable, we all will have to wrestle with the death of a child in some form. At times, the life a parent is horrible.
But regardless of how many terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days we have had, we are going home! This is why as Christian parents, we can continue to love our children when they wake up at 3:00 AM. This is why we can still care our children when they abandon the church and say hateful things. And this is why we can get up the morning after we bury our child. If we have embraced Christ, we have a home laid up for us in heaven (Col 1:5). We have a promise of hope and joy that surpasses all earthly suffering. When we cling to this hope, we can look at our bad days and say with Paul, “I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”(Rom. 8:18). Ultimately, the ability to love our kids and to enjoy this life is not based on our circumstances. We can love our kids (good or bad) at all times because we have been loved by our heavenly father who promises us eternity. If you are having a very terrible horrible, no good, very bad day, remember, “You are going home!”