No one has to remind him to put on his helmet. That's a good thing, because he has had his share of spills and the last time we were down, he had a doozy. We saw him hit the road, but he waved us off as he stood up and lifted the scooter off the road, pushing it all the way to the driveway. The blood was already pouring, so Granddad took him inside while I stayed with his brother.
After a few minutes I was told that I was needed. Granddad could do the cleaning, but Grandma was requested for the bandaging. When I sat on the floor in front of his dangling leg I got my first good look at that knee. A half dollar sized piece of skin was completely missing, as if someone had taken a grater and scraped it off, a nearly perfect circle. Bright red and oozing blood, I knew that it needed some sort of antibiotic and I knew it would hurt.
I looked up at those big blue eyes brimming with unshed tears, his little lips compressed into a straight line, trembling just a bit as he struggled to keep his composure. "I will use the spray and blow on it to make it hurt less, okay?"
"Okay," he managed to squeak out.
A quick spray and Grandma nearly undid herself blowing as hard and long as she could until the walls around us began to spin. Then a big bandage that barely covered that skinned spot and we were on to the next one, for the whole top of his foot and leg were scraped and bloody halfway to his knee. Altogether we used five bandages, but that little guy never uttered a peep.
"You were a very big boy!" I told him.
That seemed to ameliorate the still stinging wounds on his foot and leg. He gave me a small smile and he was off to play again. Later that evening when Mommy and Daddy came home, he was proud to show them his boo-boos and even prouder when I told them how brave he had been—"just like a grown up!"
It must have been a week later before the irony struck me. We told him how "big" and "brave" and "grown up" he had been. I am not sure why, because many of the grownups I have seen are perfectly happy to whine and fuss and demand attention from everyone about every little thing that comes along. Have you looked at Facebook lately?
Yes, some things do need the concern and care of others. Some things are so difficult to bear that we might very well topple without someone to lean on. Those things, which are far worse than a skinned knee, demand our love and help and attention.
But too many times a relatively minor trial is treated as if it were a life-threatening emergency. Too often a "skinned knee" is used to judge our brethren as uncaring, or to excuse ourselves from serving. Exactly what is "big, brave, and grown up" about that?
Let this sweet little boy, who did his best to be "grown up," teach you what it means to be brave and mature. Let him remind you that small things like skinned knees happen every day in the life of a Christian. God expects us to doctor the wounds and then get back up and carry on, to dry the tears and act like an adult. As a general rule, skinned knees won't kill you.
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, (2Cor 4:16-17)