I have often heard of the Spanish Inquisition, but I never imagined what heinous torture was until I had my eyebrows waxed for the first time. First, you get lulled into a sense of security by leaning back in the same chair used to shampoo your hair. I remember this chair, you think. This is a nice chair. This chair is my friend. Good times. Then the wax is applied to the eyebrows. Hmm, this isn’t so bad after all. The stylist is gabbing away as if she is a guest on a talk show, so your ears are numb but your eye region is open to all sorts of danger. Then with no warning at all, half your face gets ripped off. Not wanting to cause a scene by calling out for your mommy and acting like a baby, you suffer silently and let the tears pour down. But the only other option is slowly plucking each hair with a pair of tweezers, another mode of torture left over from the Inquisition.
One day I had an unforgettable eyebrow wax experience. The stylist started to peel the hot wax off my face, and then muttered that monosyllable universally feared by salon patrons everywhere, “Oops.” She couldn’t get the wax off in one piece. For the next fifteen minutes, I had to endure her slowly ripping each miniscule broken piece off, one by one.
After that daunting experience, I have come to a better understanding of a child’s need to rip off a Band-Aid quickly. Every parent has this intention, but some days the adhesive has a mind of its own, and your poor child is more hurt by the Band-Aid removal than the actual injury. Why do kids even like wearing Band-Aids? I suppose it is a mini Medal of Honor, even if it is slightly watered down by a picture of Sponge Bob or Scooby Doo. When one of my children begs me for a Band-Aid, I am already looking ahead to that fateful moment when I will have to rip it off.
For one thing, opening a Band-Aid would test the patience of Job. The ease with which you can open the wrapper depends on the severity of the injury. If it’s a minor boo-boo, the bandage practically opens itself. If your child is screaming and blood is pouring out with alarming rapidity, the wrapper is more stubborn than a toddler in the grocery store.
It would be nice after all that effort, if the Band-Aid could just fall off by itself. Sometimes it does (and ends up on the laundry), but more often than not, you’re left peeling the bandage off and having to watch your child suffer. For this reason, most parents get the unpleasant job done as quickly as humanly possible.
I often wonder how Mary endured watching Jesus die slowly on the cross. As a mom, she must have felt a gut-wrenching need to pull the Band-Aid quickly and end his suffering. But she didn’t have any control over the situation, and instead had to bear witnessing his prolonged torture. But she did it. She stayed.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother…
When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”
Here was Jesus, comforting his mother while he was the one being crucified. As a son, he understood that she was in emotional agony.
We can’t avoid seeing our kids get hurt. The Band-Aid is merely a cover-up for the already existing wound. But we can ask God for inner strength. We can help our kids peel the Band-Aid off quickly, and when it gets stuck like eyebrow wax, our job is to be like Mary. To be there, quietly persevering, as a rock when life is crumbling. To stand by our children in times of trouble, and offer them a drink from the cup of love and faith.