“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness,
that is a friend who cares.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey
As I stood outside the door of my mom’s first real “shower,” post-brain surgery, I listened.
“Well, I never thought I’d be in this place,” she quietly moaned to Julia, her beloved Occupational Therapist.
Very anxious about the “first washing” of her hair, which meant the first washing of her quite large incision—a “halo” as I call it—due to it crossing almost from ear to ear, I felt her pain.
All I could echo was, “Boy, you can say that again.”
Just two years ago, December 2010, my daughter, Brooke, had her brain surgery. Now, almost two years later, I found myself coming down with a very strange case of Divine Dejavu (as I now refer to this whole experience). Same brain surgeon. Same Neuro-Science ICU @ DePaul Medical Center. Same chapel. Same routine.
“Lord,” I prayed as I sat in the all-too-familiar chapel. “Did I miss something the first time around? Did I have to walk through this experience, again?”
I’ve yet to hear his response, but I sense there have been both lessons and blessins’ ’round this blind corner:
- Entry into yet another life exercise in selflessness and patience, which has gently forced aside “my personal agenda for this fall” in order to obey God’s agenda. Over and over again, I’ve been re-minded of Psalm 31:15, “My times [some versions say 'future] are in your hands…” Really? Do we really believe this? I’ll be honest, these past three months, I’ve really challenged God with this one. But, Lord, I need to do this…and that…and this…and that…His response, “Obey me. Honor your mother. Take care of her needs.”
- As a recovering co-dependent ACOA, I oftentimes have a difficult time with boundaries and overdoing things (stop laughing). When is enough, enough? The concept of self-care only entered my vocabulary a few years ago, so this entire journey has been a test. But, God has been with me—delicately showing me the way to healthy boundaries and care.
- And, perhaps, the most important “lesson and blessin'” for me, at this specific point in life, is sometimes the other side of a blind corner brings brand new relationships. People I would never have met if it weren’t for this time. Here, at the intersection of a very difficult road, God-directed connections are being made. Once again I am reminded that life is all about relationships. Conversations. Connection. Larry Crabb writes, “Connecting with others depends on using our capacity to relate for the enjoyment and enhancement of someone other than ourselves.”
Why oh why do I find it so hard to be selfless? To lay aside personal gain and ambitious agenda(s) and simply wake up with the singular purpose of loving someone “other than myself” all day? The funny, surprising, most amazing part of this entire DIVINE DEJAVU has been the deep peace I’ve found in doing just that…waking up with singular intention(s) and complete and total abandon to the daily unfolding of life.
I wonder if you find loving someone “other than yourself” as much a struggle as I do? Would you possibly have any little bit of advice or encouragement to share? Have you a “lesson or blessin'” to share from one of your blind corners?
And, before I forget, on the way to the hospital the other day, I tuned into K-Love and heard this amazing worship song. As I sang the chorus over and over and over, I felt so grateful. His love never fails. It never lets go. It never runs out on me! Let the words wash over you like a shower of spring rain.