Favorite Philosopher: “Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh?” he whispered. “Yes, Piglet?” “Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s hand. “I just wanted to be sure of you.” –A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Favorite Theologian: “Give me all of you!!! I don’t want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work. I want YOU!!! ALL OF YOU!! I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man or woman, but to KILL IT! No half measures will do. I don’t want to only prune a branch here and a branch there; rather I want the whole tree out! Hand it over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them ALL over to me, give yourself to me and I will make of you a new self—in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will, shall become your will. My heart, shall become your heart.” –C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
If you’ve been following any of my blogs, you know that this has been a rough seven months. (Hey, fellow literary folks–get the symbolism? Seven–Old Testament number of completeness!) My disease is infecting and affecting everything in my life–relationships with family and friends and the ability to be independent and do the things that are necessary for daily life. My family suffers with me–especially my husband and particularly, my parents.
Example: My husband spent the last week in Colorado visiting his delightful daughters and getting in some quality time with his grandkids and granddog, Lily. (I was hoping the dog delight might rub off on him and I could broach the subject of adopting a cute, furry bundle of love–man, he’s tough.) Anyway, I was alone for a week which was fine because I’m part hermit. But at one point I needed a break from an empty house full of school work begging to be completed, so off I went to Broken Arrow (a growing town south of Tulsa) and my mom and dad’s house–or the Nave Family Spa. Yes, it is that powerful because God lives there.
Their house equals comfort and hospitality. Beautifully and elegantly decorated by my talented “momacita,” the house feels like a hug. Certain things are so familiar–the antique hall tree and little antique desk that snuggles up to a corner curve under the stairs. The grandfather clock in the dining room. The family pictures of my kids at every age. Pictures of nieces and nephews and brothers and sister with spouses. The Bibles scattered on the coffee table. The soft butter-colored sofas. The chaise lounge (my favorite) covered in soft animal print. Like I said–elegant. My mom is elegant.
I had a moment. It was one of those bad pain moments that I’d hoped would stay hidden in a forest somewhere while I was with my parents. It didn’t and I’m thankful it didn’t because it acted as a catalyst and reminder of my parents’ love.
The pain monster bit about midnight. Pain started rolling down through my shoulder and arm. Nerve pain. It’s hard to describe–think dentist picking with that torturous pick thingy and hitting the edge of a nerve. Yep. That’s it, only it doesn’t stop.
I was in the middle of this pain and I was scared. It scared me because I couldn’t (and can’t) control it. I stumbled down the stairs and barged into my parents’ bedroom. Dad immediately woke up–he sleeps lightly like me. He moved into action, providing pain pills while clad in his boxers. My 75-year-oid dad jumped into action to help his 55-year-old suffering daughter. I was a child again. Dad was going to fix me. He wasn’t thinking about anything but fixing my pain and making me safe.
Enter my mom. She guides me upstairs carrying toast and a Sprite so I don’t take medicine on an empty stomach. Tucks
me in and fusses a bit over the heating pad I have to basically wear on my arm. She leans over me, beautiful in her pj’s and well-cut white hair. She prays–holding my hands and crying. Her tears land on my arms. I cry. We both cry out to God. And then she does what moms do–she sits with me. I slowly wind down and assure her I’m going to be fine, but she refuses to leave. Instead she sits down on an antique chair covered in velvet and says, “I’m just going to sit here and pray until you go to sleep.”
And she did.
That night I saw two aspects of God: the “jump into action and fix things” Father who hates to see his children suffering and the “I will sit with you and never leave your side” Father who knows things will hurt, but I will hurt less with the assurance that He sits with me.
It was a night I’ll never forget. I hold onto their unconditional love as a perfect example of God’s grace, mercy and presence.
Isaiah: “He (God) tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11
Amen. Grace and peace to all.
A switch in direction: Here are some of the books I’m reading right now. The
Sound of a Wild Snail Eating is beautiful–small, non-fiction. The author, Elizabeth Tova Bailey, went through a period of dangerous illness that left her bedridden. During that time, she moved into a small cottage and tried to recover. A friend brought her some wild violets and then found a tiny snail to live in the potted violet. Bailey is able to create metaphor, reveal personal history and give us a bit of insight into the life of a snail. Example: “Each evening the snail awoke and, with an astonishing amount of poise, moved gracefully to the rim of the pot and peered over, surveying, once again, the strange country that lay ahead.”
*I apologize for not editing well. Hopefully I fixed things.