Wednesday, September 25, 2013
God's Answer to a Prayer for Comfort
This is how it's been for the past couple years for my family, and for that of my in-laws. In the summer of 2011, my husband's kidney function dropped fast and a transplant was required. Two months later, his 72 year old mother broke her ankle and spent the next 9 months having surgery after surgery to correct it. The summer of 2012, my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was given 6-12 months to live. A month after that diagnosis, my husband developed a foot ulcer which resulted in an amputation of half his right foot. This summer/fall, my husband is battling a sore on his other foot, which we've been told could lead to a below-the-knee amputation... and my father-in-law's cancer has started spreading quickly again after a few months of being stable (it wasn't gone... just wasn't growing). Additionally, my father-in-law just had surgery two weeks ago to put a rod in his leg.
So needless to say but I'll say it anyway, the wives of these two men occasionally become basket-cases. Depression, hopelessness, helplessness - it all overtakes us. We pray. We go to church. We have faith. And believe me... if anyone tells me we're just not praying hard enough, or just don't have enough faith, I will scream. Why? Because we do pray hard enough and we do believe enough. But sometimes bad things happen to good people. That's life.
Anyway, this past week I have watched Mom break down repeatedly. Tears spring to her eyes at the slightest provocation. I've been there. I am there. At times, I can bury it. At times, I need to. At times, I break down in the privacy of my dark room. In years past, Mom and I (and our husbands/families) always had one person we could call on - a friend who was always there for us. It helped, of course, that he lived across the road from her and only a block away from me. Now, he's a few states away. So earlier this week, I felt lost. Where do we turn when we need that physical person to offer comfort?
Yes, yes, seek God. We KNOW that. But honestly... everyone reading this - is seeking God always enough, or don't you sometimes need someone being the arms and ears and voice of God? Working for Him, having Him working through a friend? Real arms wrapped around you, knowing it's God's arms? Real hands holding yours and praying with you? Maybe it's just us two basket-case women who need this.
So anyway, physically ill on Monday, and emotionally distraught, and spiritually lost... I prayed. I knew Mom needed more than I could offer, and I didn't know where to turn. Tuesday morning, it was more of the same. Well... I spoke to her that morning, and she had to cut the conversation short.... the pastor of my church was at her house. Someone else had contacted him asking him to go see her. Later, the pastor of her church visited with her. Both of those events were great for her. Very needed. But still not enough....
But then yesterday afternoon, I went to her house to see if she wanted to come to a volleyball game with me - get her out of the house, let her watch her granddaughter knock a ball around. I walked into her living room and there she sat in the rocking chair, her eyes lit up, a content, peaceful, joyful smile on her face... and a little sleeping baby in her arms.
A friend (and wife to the pastor of my church) had stopped by with her little 3-month old baby, and I could see immediately that just holding that little baby had made all of Mom's problems seem small in that moment. Perhaps had even allowed those problems to flutter away, at least temporarily. I invited this friend to join us at the game... where I then spent much of the next 4 hours holding this little bundle of babbling, drooling adorableness. Every smile, every time he gripped my finger, even every time he spit up all over me - there was just no room for problems and worries and tears about what was happening in my life. Within the cooing smiles and even within the scrunched up I'm-going-to-scream face... there was something comforting. This baby (perhaps because of the timing, perhaps because he was chosen by God to be our comfort, or perhaps just because he's so cute) made us remember hope, and love, and God's miracles. He brought us a light - one so much needed at that moment.
Don't get me wrong - his parents both helped Mom a great deal... and myself. It was a fun night getting to know them a little more and just being out and about watching a volleyball game and talking. But it was this baby who brought us the most comfort.
Baby Therapy! I don't think there is any drug on the market that works better. Hopefully the parents don't start charging... although, they could easily make a great deal of money :)
God bless! And thank you!