Posted here for Phyllis Stokes by Mike
How God Provides Rest
Bamm! The metal door slammed shut just as Michael dosed off to sleep. He sat straight up in bed. I could see he was trying to figure out where he was. Over a year had passed since the fire. Michael was still recovering in the nursing home, slash rehabilitation center from anoxic brain injury. At 33 years old, he was like a child again in some ways; in others, as stubborn as an old man.
Propped up in a tattered speckled recliner in his room, I had been waiting for him to dose off long enough for me to slip out for the night. It was easier to leave while he slept—for him and for me. He had been half asleep, fully clothed, including his coat.
“Son, let’s go ahead and get you washed up and in your PJs for the night.”
“Whhy, mom-ma?” Confusion framed his expression. “Where… aam I?” His words came out slower since the accident. He paused and looked around as if seeing the room for the first time.
“I doon’t… live here!”
I cleared my throat trying to remove the pain I felt for him from my voice. “Son, this is where you live for now.”
“But whyyy can’t I live wheere yoou live?”
He didn’t realize, we were both far from home. We had come to the area seeking a place that specialized in brain injury. Strangers had temporarily taken me. I was always searching for an inspirational word to get through one of his moments.
“Things will work out soon, son.”
He wrapped his overcoat tight and crawled back into bed.
Michael’s mind constantly perceived the noise outside his room as danger. He consistently declined therapy, food, showers and medication. There was conversation about moving him to the nursing home section because he was no longer participating in therapy.
I needed to get him home where he could spend his energy healing instead of protecting himself. I spoke with the department heads. They agreed to discharge, but warned me that accessible housing was rare find in the area and could take a year.
“We don’t have a year!” I objected, desperate to get some form of normality back.” I was thinking in time for Christmas.”
“But this is October 1st,” said the discharge planner.
“I know. I will find it myself if I have to.” I began looking immediately… and found nothing. If anything could help me stay positive, a good bible verse could. I kept my bible close and reminded myself often of how God had provided for us so far.
One morning I found an ad that caught my attention. Open House Today, New Apartments with 1, 2 and ½ bedrooms available. That’s strange? I picked up the phone to call, mostly out of curiosity. The realtor, Dawn answered.
“I think you made a typo in your ad.” I said.
“Thanks for bringing that to my attention.” She chuckled. ‘So, are you coming to the open house?”
“No. I’m looking for an accessible apartment. I just called to tell you about the mistake.”
“We have accessible apartments.”
“Are you serious?!!!”
Scribbling some directions on a crumpled napkin, I hurried out the door. Dawn told me the first contractor abandoned the project and a new contractor had just decided to finish it.
“When will they be ready?”
“Around the first of the year.”
“Hmmm…. Any chance you would allow someone to move in earlier?”
“But, we’ll still be doing construction in December.”
“I really needed a home for my son… as quick as possible.”
“Well…you’ll need two month’s rent plus the deposit.”
Knowing it was more than I had, I continued my appeal. “I’m really trusting God to make a way for us.”
Her forehead wrinkled. Clearly, she didn’t understand my Christian dogma.
“I guess I could talk to the owners.”
In a few days, Dawn called. “The owner will let you move in December and since we will still be doing construction, there’s no first month’s rent.”
Hers words were fresh air in my lungs. We moved into our apartment on December 1st. It wasn’t until later in the evening when I knew Michael finally felt the peace that comes from being home.
I was reclining in the speckled chair when I heard him coming toward the living room. He rolled himself to threshold and peeked around the corner. I looked up to see him completely undressed, down to his underwear. He smiled.
“G-good night, mom…ma.”
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