Remedies and Remedy

Did your mom have her list of go-to remedies for every malady you might experience?  I’m thinking your answer is probably “yes”.  My mom sure did.  

Milk of Magnesia would cure everything.  Tummy ache?  Take some milk of magnesia.  Tired and worn out?  Take some milk of magnesia.  Ingrown toenail?  Same remedy….. well yeah that might be an exaggeration.  

Then there was Alka Seltzer.  Pop pop fizz fizz oh what a relief it is.  For every other known physical ailment that M.O.M wouldn’t cure.  

Except skin scrapes and open wounds.  Mercurochrome was the deal for all things considered a “boo-boo”.  And no, it doesn’t sting.  Or so I was told that the pain I felt was not a sting.  Okay then, it was more the sense of your skin being doused with gas and set on fire.  Yeah, that might be an exaggeration, too.  

Mom may not have had the cure for all physical ills, but she definitely knew how to deal with bad attitudes and mean spirits.  She was the calmest person I’ve ever known and really all she had to do was look at me, listen to me, and say very little.  Maybe a little “actions speak louder than words” advice, or “fifty years from now this won’t matter”.  And my Dad actually gave me some of the sagest advice in situations where my feelings were hurt.  “Just make sure you’re not the mean one.  Rise above”.  

Often, very often, Mom had no words.  I think sometimes she listened and said nothing because she just didn’t know the answer.  And that was okay.  I always knew her heart.  Always knew that she cared, and that my hurt was her hurt, too.   

Sometimes even in my older age, in fact more than sometimes, I really wish I could talk to my mom and dad.  Even just to be told that Milk of Magnesia will take care of it.  Even to get a wrong answer.  Even to get no answer.  There’s just something healing about talking to one who loves you in a way that no other human being was designed to love you.  A parent’s love.  

I’m really long in the tooth now, and I have two middle-aged (!?!WHAT?!?) daughters that come to me for the same reasons I went to my own mother.  I love that bond, but I also am acutely aware of my limitations in the wisdom department.  Every human has limitations in the wisdom department.  

Although we all like to think we have wise answers, don’t we?  I find myself often stewing over unpleasant and painful situations.  Generally I replay conversations and insert “what I should have said” into the dialogue.  Or rehearse “what I’ll say next time”.  Like perhaps I think I know more than I really know. Like I actually am my own remedy.  While my blood pressure rises.  And my smile fades.  And my muscles tense.  And my spirit suffers.

In this whole process, something really important is totally overlooked….The Remedy.  We are not the Remedy.  

God designed us to need Him.  To seek His wisdom.  To trust His sovereignty.  To follow His call to “Love one another, as I have loved you.”  To “be quick to listenslow to speak and slow to become angry“.  To “be kind to one another, tender-hearted and forgiving just as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you.”  

During times when I’m a bit overwhelmed with life and more than a little discouraged I find the most comfort in the fact that God doesn’t find fault with us. Even when we find fault with others. Even when we find fault with ourselves.   He looks beyond our faults and offers grace and wisdom.  He will give us the words to say or the grace to remain silent.  And then…. he gives us His peace.  We can relax knowing He’s God and we’re not.

He is The Remedy.  

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