When I walk with him down the halls of that hospital—doctor’s orders—the nurses all stop and look. He’s taller than I now. And that red hair. And freckles. One nurse told me he was the youngest patient she’d ever worked with.
On Sunday morning I run home from the hospital where I’ve been sleeping beside my son’s bed for three nights. I have to get ready for church—to deliver a message to a congregation because I agreed to weeks ago. I did not know then that we would be here. I did not know then that I’d spend these nights in a stiff-backed recliner—my deep sleep interrupted by pain, IV changes, and worry.
It’s hard to leave him. He’s still in a lot of pain from the surgery and somehow my mamma heart thinks I can absorb some of that hurt by sitting beside him. But his grandmother comes, and her heart is a sponge, and I thank God for her one more time among many this week.
When I get to the house, it is quiet. His father and brother have already left to worship at the home church. I stand in the middle of the kitchen—listen to the emptiness of my home. I go outside and get my watering can. It’s the first thing I do every morning—water the flowers. I watch the water flood over pink and yellow petunias. Baby’s Breath. English ivy. And I wonder how beauty lives on in spite of such neglect.
Lucy Mae is happy to see me but she’s used to strange goings on these past few days—people coming and going…part of her family missing. She jumps up and puts her front paws on my knees—a question in her liquid brown eyes. I take her for a short walk. She’s been neglected too.
And then I sit at the table and read the Psalms. There is time.
There are birds at my feeder. The finches move together—from the Pussy Willow tree to the feeder and back again. They sit on the bending branches of the willow like dainty feathered bulbs and I think of Christmas in July. The morning glory winds in and out of the grasses in the meadow—a strand of festive white bells. My little patch of earth is all dressed up to receive me home.
I walk out to my little garden in bare feet—the morning dew baptizing my soles. My mother-in-law told me she thinks I have some ripe tomatoes. Sure enough, when I peer through the cascade of vine, two plump red globes peer back. I snap them off at the stem and lift them to my nose. I will have such a feast for breakfast.
We take so much for granted, I told Teddy as we welcomed the dark together that first night in the hospital.
He nodded because it’s been his body that he has had to be so aware of during this entire ordeal. And he has been so brave and strong and I see how he has grown through all this pain. At night I slip my hand through the rails on his hospital bed and he puts his on top of mine and we pray. We haven’t done that since he was twelve years old and he asked if he could start tucking himself in at night—told me he could say his own prayers now.
I’ve never known this kind of fear and in the midst of all my praying and reciting scripture and imagining all the worst case scenarios, I prayed for mothers and fathers in Colorado…for parents everywhere with sick children…those who’ve had to say goodbye too soon.
I’m used to them being so old they need a pillow to sit up, she said.
These nurses are right partial to you, I told him. If you play your cards right, you could have anything you want.
I don’t want much,he said.
Me either, I thought. Me either.
How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:
The Playdates button:
Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also: