As soon as I got home one day, I dropped my backpack and coat in the middle of the hallway and ran to the washroom. I really had to go pee. (Yes, this blog post is kinda about pee, but kinda isn’t. I have no shame. Read on.)
I really should have known better than to have let my bladder get to such a full and sorry state of affairs, but I hate public washrooms, and it wasn’t all that bad until I neared my apartment. I just really wanted to sit on my own (clean) throne in the comfort of my own home. I had been carrying and walking around with a full bladder and the accompanying discomfort of having to pee for a good while. This whole episode reminded me of a girl who used to be in my summer camp; for the purposes of this post and anonymity, we’ll call her Kate.
For several years as a teenager I was a summer camp counsellor for a day camp in a busy community centre. As a safety measure, because of where we were located, if kids wanted to go to the washroom, they’d have to first ask one of the counsellors who would then accompany them. Kate, who was seven at the time, was one of my favourite campers because she was sweet and obedient (and as a camp counsellor, you quickly come to appreciate sweet and obedient children). But little Kate always had to go pee. Because I, in turn, was one of her favourite camp counsellors, she would always ask me to escort her.
I never had a moment to myself at camp.
A word on children and peeing: A child would ask me if they could go to the washroom and I would take them without hesitation. As soon as I came back – sometimes literally before I reached the door – another child would tell me that they needed to go to the washroom. This was beyond annoying, because, if it were up to these kids, I’d spend my whole day walking to and from and waiting for children outside of the washroom. To the child in question, I would give them a playful glare and raised eyebrow and they would respond in turn with a glare, a giggle or a grin (or just blink) and I’d sigh and say, “Ok, let’s go.” And I would make an announcement to the other children at the top of my lungs, “I’m going to the washroom. If you need to go, speak now or forever hold your pee.” Then there would be silence. Children would stare at me innocently and blankly, seemingly unaware of their bladders and other biological urges. So I would take the child to the washroom. Again. And, inevitably, of course, upon my return – sometimes literally before I reached the door – another child would tell me that they needed to go to the washroom.
I’d look at them and say, “Ok. Let’s go.”
I know children have small bladders. I definitely did not want to make the children feel ashamed that they had to go pee. I mean, I hope I didn’t. That wasn’t my intention. I just wanted to avoid having to make twenty trips to the washroom in one afternoon instead of just maybe four or five.
Kate sensed that I did not like making multiple trips to the washroom so I think she tried her best not to constantly “bother” me. But on one occasion, sweet Kate tapped me on the shoulder, batted her eyes, smiled sweetly and said, with a sense of urgency, “Simone, I have to go to the washroom.” I gave her my playful glare complete with the raised left eyebrow and she responded by saying, “It’s hurting.” I said, “Okay. Let’s go.”
Part of the reason why I quickly jumped up to take her to the washroom was to potentially avoid having to mop up pee in the middle of the community centre room and embark on the almost impossible task of cordoning off the area so that kids do not run into said puddle of pee. The other reason why I quickly responded was because I could relate to Kate. I recognized myself in her. I knew the feeling. I knew – I know – how it feels to want to go pee so badly that it hurts. I know how it feels to have a bladder that is just at the brink of bursting. I really did feel for her. I took pity on her. I was well acquainted with the discomfort. And so I wanted to do my part (and, well, my job) by accompanying her to the washroom.
I can’t help but think that maybe Jesus is like that.
We, like Kate, come to God not wanting to bother Him with…well…not our pee, but our problems. For Kate it was a bladder full of pee but for us it is often a bucket full of problems just at the brink of bursting. For us it’s the waste products of an overwhelming life and things from which we could use some relief.
We come to God sheepishly saying, “It’s hurting.” Life, love, car, career, cancer… it’s hurting. Friends, family, foes, failure…it’s hurting. Wallet, worry, winter…it’s hurting. Disease, divorce, death, drought, doldrums of existence…it’s hurting. Singleness, separation, sleeplessness…it’s hurting.
And when we say, “it’s hurting,” maybe He recognizes Himself in us. Maybe He knows the feeling. Maybe He knew – He knows – how it feels to live a life that hurts. Maybe He pities us. Maybe He feels for us because He is well acquainted with the discomfort. And maybe, just maybe, He wants to do His part by accompanying us – not to the washroom per se, but along the corridors of life to a heavenly house with many rooms (and clean washrooms too). Maybe He says, like I said to Kate, “Ok, let’s go.” Maybe He helps us to keep us from breaking and bursting and making a mess of our lives. And maybe He wants to do, not only the part, but the whole of saving us from a life that constantly hurts.