little boy playing with cars at bedtime

By Chip Sekulich Chaplain/Patient Advocate

Once there was a little boy, who was very loved by his parents. As a newborn, he slept near their bed in a bassinet, graduating to a crib. Occasionally, he slept snuggled between his mom and dad.

The little boy was very active in his sleep, tossing and turning, throwing elbows, and kicking his feet. As he grew bigger, this activity prevented him from safely sleeping in his crib or with his parents. It was time for a “big boy” bed in his own room.

Like most three-year-old boys, he loved anything that had to do with cars. His parents bought him a car-shaped bed and decorated his new room with pictures of cars and trucks.

All was going well in the first few nights. After putting him to bed, his parents heard muffled childlike sounds of revving motors and whispered, “Zoom! Zoom! Zoom!” followed by blissful silence as he fell asleep. But before the end of the week, things changed.

Instead of looking forward to bedtime, surrounded by his cars, the little boy realized his parents were not around as he fell asleep. He put off the inevitable bedtime with repeated requests for water or juice and an equal number of trips to the bathroom. Whispered motor sounds were soon replaced with quiet sobbing.

After a night or two, his mother entered his room to soothe him. As she sat on the end of his big boy car bed, he reached up for a hug, crying, “I love you, Momma!” Hugging him back, she replied, “I love you too, honey, but you need to go to sleep.” Tearfully, he sobbed, “Momma, I don’t want to be by myself.” She tried to calm down, saying, “You’re not alone; all your car friends are here.” Without missing a beat, he said, as only a three-year-old could, “But, Momma, I need someone with skin on.”

We are much like this little boy. Life can take away the familiar—sometimes in the blink of an eye. A phone call, a doctor’s report, a broken relationship, a betrayal, or even worse—can yank us away from the familiar into the unknown, filled with fear, sadness, and uncertainty. And just as suddenly, none of the possessions or activities we once loved can bring us comfort.

During these times, we need to remember that God has sent “someone with skin on” to identify with us, encourage us, stay with us, and even wipe our tears away. “But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman.” (Galatians 4:4). Jesus understands us entirely and identifies with us fully.

The Bible reminds us, “So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

When we find ourselves thrust from the familiar to the unfamiliar, we can look to God and remember that he sent someone “with skin on” for times like these, recognizing that in the middle of life’s uncertainties, we can be certain of His promise, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5).

If you need “someone with skin on,” whether to just talk or pray, reach out. Be assured that all information remains confidential, as you are assured that “someone with skin on” will always be there for you.