“It makes no practical sense for me to be here,” I shared with my grad school cohort, “I should be home, resting, taking care of my husband and kids.” I gave voice to the guilt which, like a rash, crawled on the skin of my psyche.
“He’s doing so well,” I went on, rationalizing away the guilt…for the moment,”and the kids are troopers.”
12 hours later fever set in and we again made a frenetic dash to Hopkins. He was fighting an infection. And sometimes, I knew, infections win.
On my way, I had an appointment with a surly orthopedic surgeon. He was prickly, abrupt and announced I probably wouldn’t need surgery and certainly didn’t need the scooter. I told him to navigate the miles of Hopkins’ halls I would keep it.
No ankle surgery? A surprise and a beginning of the mending.
Something happened in the kids. The first trip was scary, overwhelming and they made me crazy. This time, as we all piled into the king sized bed like a litter of puppies, their presence was comforting. There were far less whines and far more, “Can I help you?”
Waiting rooms weren’t buzzing with nervous energy as before. In fact, with the right book and atop a pile of coats they could be quite cozy.
“The pancreas is a mean organ,” the surgeon told us, “This infection is common. He will make a full recovery.”
Common. Full recovery. It seems ankles and abdomens are designed to mend.
That was the prayer of my sardonic grad school professor after I told him our story. He thanked God He designed us to mend.
I’ve been in the battle so long I forgot there is an end. I’ve been limping so long I forgot what it was to walk. It’s been a long, long season.
Yet, from the very beginning, my husband, my kids and I were designed to mend. We were created to uncover beauty from ashes. Wisdom from mistakes. Life in the midst of death. It’s the scripture promise that we are given life abundantly even if it takes place on surgical wards, atop scooters or sporting an ankle cast.
Mend. Even the word is soft, as the promise it whispers. There are miles to go before we sleep, but sleep we will and mend we shall.
Share with me where you are mending. Where are you walking where once you stumbled?
This video struck me to the heart. Please click on link to see video: Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan
In this journey to eat less, pray more and love abundantly I have become more aware of relationships. I’ve been exploring and experiencing connections to people and God in new and sometimes painful ways.
Anne Sullivan connects to Helen in a way that is intimate. She places a hand on her teacher’s face, thus causing Anne’s identity, for the moment, to be inextricably linked with her student. Anne seems completely at ease with this and an even deeper connection still. Helen relies on Anne to connect to the broader world through language. Helen is Anne’s lifeline.
Is this not a symbol for the connections we all need in life? Between friends, lovers, parents, siblings do we not all long for at least one meaningful connection in life? Robert Putnam, in his groundbreaking work, “Bowling Alone”, places relationships as the most powerful force to move someone from one stage of sustainability to another.
Is this not what God calls us to do? Luke 10:26-28 in the amplified puts it this way.
“26 Jesus said to him, What is written in the Law? How do you read it?
27 And he replied, You must love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.
28 And Jesus said to him, You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live [enjoy active, blessed, endless life in the kingdom of God].”
From the Message Bible it puts verse 27 this way, “27 He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
Anne Sullivan loved Helen Keller with all her passion, prayer, muscle and intelligence. How do I know? The connection shows us, as demonstrated in the video.
As I stumble, worn and weary, from one crisis to baseball game to laundry pile to work, I need that same connection. I need to connect with God in that same way. I need to love Him with all my passion more than I merely want to survive the moment. I must connect with Him so that He is my lifeline-so I can communicate with my challenging world the language of love, grace and strength.
We are managing to stumble our way to church this morning. I’ll be tired, because I always am these days. However, at some point, in some way, I will reach my hand. I will place it on the face of the One I love and I will connect.
Will you? If you do, please share.