I’m a germophobe, a certifiable basket case of clean. Case in point: hotel rooms. I don’t let my kids lay on top of the bedding; everyone must wear flip-flops in the room; and I have to wipe down the phone, doorknobs, and TV remote before anyone is allowed to touch them. I worked at a hotel in graduate school, so I know what goes on. Trust me; you should follow my lead.
My children have been trained to promptly wash their hands when we come home from any errand outside of the house. I’m probably cursing them with a major complex, but it makes me feel better, okay?
This week, no precaution or compulsory handwashing routine could have prevented what my middle child contracted: impetigo (shiver). Just the word alone makes me itch.
Impetigo is a common and highly contagious skin rash in children (and some adults) caused by one of two bacteria: Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes. It’s gross and spreads like a nasty rumor through a class of middle school girls.
My five-year-old was exposed at a birthday party earlier this month, and after a couple weeks of dormancy, the rash struck. A Friday afternoon visit to Urgent Care and the pharmacy propelled us back home, and I quickly turned into Hazmat Mom. Everyone was bathed, and the house reeked of Lysol. All bedding was changed and washed on the sanitize cycle. Toilet seats were decontaminated, and the boy was rubbed with his ointment (with gloves, of course) and forced into pants and long-sleeves, despite the July heat.
Honestly, I’m not very compassionate toward my children when they have a contagious illness they can spread to their siblings or parents. I become less sympathetic to their medical condition and more concerned with containing it. Admittedly, I completely lost my cool when I came around the corner and found the infected five-year-old playfully wrestling with his two-year-old brother. “What is wrong with you? Get off of him! You are going to give this to your brother, and then Mommy is really going to lose her mind!” I know; it’s terrible. So many levels of bad mothering.
The truth is we’ve made it through the weekend, and, so far, no other household member has contracted impetigo, and the boy’s case hasn’t spread. Mom has managed to contain the bacteria, but unfortunately she spread her fears and paranoia all over.
I’ve asked my son for forgiveness and turned on compassion and patience because I started thinking: What if God reacted to us the way I’ve acted? What if He pushed us off His lap? isolated us? contained us to minimize the damage? In all honesty, we are far more filthy, contagious, and contaminated with sin than any staph infection. We would all suffer from disease and death had it not been for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the ultimate cure and remedy.
So bring your malady, bring your shame, your infection and heartache. Come to Jesus with your shortcomings as a parent, your mistakes as a spouse, and your disappointments as a friend. Climb up on your Lord’s lap today and find peace. Take respite from the illness your human condition plagues you with and find forgiveness and great healing in the Almighty.