Last night, I did what I normally do just before I click off the last light: I quickly swept through the house and checked on all my little people, enjoying their peaceful countenances, pulling up covers, breathing out quick prayers. In Lili's room, I also breathed in another odor and quickly determined that a diaper change was in order.
Working as quickly as I could in as much darkness as I could (you really don't want to change a poopy diaper in too much dark), I got her changed and during the process I smiled at her total relaxation, her drowsy murmurs and her slightly-sweaty, totally cuddly, sweet toddler self, and I was overcome with a wave of gratitude.
It started because I thought, "Man, I'm so glad I caught this, because she would have had some serious diaper rash in the morning" (in case you didn't know, skin gets really irritated at prolonged exposure to poop, and an acidic diaper - from lots of fruit or tomatoes, e.g. - actually eats away at the skin and leaves raw spots). Gratitude was mixed with sadness then as I thought of all the kids in the world who suffer through diaper rash because they don't have parents to change their diapers in the middle of the night or the middle of the day or any time at all. Or parents who are unwilling or unable.
Then I thought how thankful I am that we can afford diapers and don't have to ration them when she needs a change. I'm thankful we can buy food - healthy and delicious food - that eventually fills those diapers. Thankful that she has a healthy body that processes that food. Thankful for a warm home where we can all sleep peacefully at night.
Thankful for the opportunity to have kids in the first place, thankful that God gave me a husband and these three children. Thankful that I have an incredible wealth of resources around me as I raise them, grandparents who serve and nurture, friends who share burdens and laughs, older men and women who encourage and admonish, a church body that teaches us and helps us to raise them up in the Lord's love. Thankful for grace that covers over my failures, for even with all those resources and all these gifts, tempers run short and gratitude is so often eclipsed by selfishness and self-righteousness.
In a life that should be filled with nothing but gratitude and praise, I receive mercy upon mercy each day for many things, not the least I which is my lack of giving thanks.
"Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to thy cross I cling.
Naked come to the for dress,
Helpless look to thee for grace.
Foul I to the fountain fly,
Wash me Savior or I die."
Kind of a funny hymn to think of in light of a poopy diaper, but there you go. Deep truth mixed with every day normalcy, which is the best kind and maybe the only kind.