Sunday, March 8, 2015

#174 He Takes Care of the Mess


Every Tuesday, my brother Jonathan comes over my house for dinner. This past Tuesday night, after we had eaten and watched a little TV, Jonathan said he wanted to go home. Usually, he will cling onto every possible moment to stay at my house, but tonight I could tell something was off.

As I stood up from the couch to get ready to leave, Jonathan leaned over on the couch and let out a cough that can only be defined as a violent mixture of phlegm, wheezing, and intense gut action.

We know this cough.

A few years ago, we were at the mall with Jonathan and Joel. Jonathan had been acting tired and cranky towards the end of our trip. As we walked out to leave the mall, Jonathan debuted this very same cough. The mall was closing, but the cough was so out of the ordinary for Jonathan that Joel instantly turned around to buy a water bottle.

The cough walked with us to the car. With my hands seconds away from opening his car door for him, Jonathan looked up at his reflection on the window and vomited all over the door.

It was all I could do not to jump for joy at the sight of Joel running across the parking lot with a bottle of water in his hand. Jonathan got a few sips, then the rest of the bottle was given to the attempt of getting the vomit off the car.

So as this eerily similar cough was coming out of Jonathan’s mouth Tuesday night, Hubby sat up and said, “He’s going to throw up”.

I was in denial, so I didn’t seize the moment quite as quickly as I should have and seconds later my rug was covered in vomit with a look and smell distinctly related to the 7-layer taco dip Jonathan had asked me to make for dinner. Hubby ran upstairs stating that “he almost just threw up too” and I thought he was leaving me to fight the battle alone.

Stupidly, I ran into the kitchen and grabbed the two bowls that our tortilla chips had been in from dinner. Jonathan threw up in one, and then in the other, and as this beautiful process was occurring I couldn’t figure out why I hadn’t just grabbed the trashcan that was two feet away from the bowls.

With no other option left, I ran the filled bowls back into the kitchen and exchanged them for the trashcan. Of which, you guessed it, he expelled two more rounds of 7-layer taco dip scented barf. It was around this time that Hubby came down with a bucket of soapy water to take care of clean up.

I'm sure you are wondering why I am sharing with you my Tuesday night from hell. You’ve had your own share of rounds with stomach bugs. And if you have children, I’m sure you’ve done more than any human should have to do of cleanup duty.

But I promise, I have a point.

When we were fairly convinced he wasn’t going to let anything else out, we got him together to go home. He was shivering yet warm, his face pale and confused, breaking my heart with each second that passed. As I was trying to comfort him, I told him he was going to go home and rest.  I grabbed my phone to tell my mom what happened so that she could give his job coach a heads up that Jonathan was sick and probably wouldn’t be able to go to work the next day.

When Jonathan heard that he immediately said, “I see Mr. Chris tomorrow.”

“No Jon, you’re sick, honey. You probably won’t go to work tomorrow. You need to rest. You just threw up a lot,”

“I all better. I see Mr. Chris tomorrow. I go Praise and Worship (at church).”

“I don’t think so, we’ll see how you feel,”

To which, during our drive home, we had the same exact discussion about four billion more times. He was convinced he was all better, despite having just thrown up five times (and about six more later that night at home). Regardless of what his body was going through he knew two things: he still wanted to go to work the next day, and he still wanted to go to church that night.

Especially this morning, after losing an hour sleep last night due to daylights savings time, after waking up half an hour late and having the teeny tiny desire to skip church, I find myself put in check by someone who most people often overlook.

How many of us look for excuses out of work? How many of us want to sleep in on Sunday, or play hooky on our other church responsibilities? How many of us choose laziness over productivity? How many of us choose selfish desires over helping others?

My hand is raised.

Yet here, someone that is often labeled as a burden to society, incapable of serving a purpose, amidst shivers and bending over the trashcan, wants nothing more than to work and go to church.

When I see Jonathan’s passion for life, it makes me ashamed of who I allow myself to be when I’m angry, not feeling well, or just in a bad mood. He makes me realize that I will forever be working on putting my priorities in an order that God would be pleased with because my humanity time and time again will always cause me to fail.

I say it often, but I’ll say it again, Jonathan is my hero. He may not be society’s definition of perfection, but the unprejudiced love within him, the sincere care and concern he offers, and the joyfulness with which he approaches all circumstances makes me aspire to let go of myself and become more like him.

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