Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)
TITLE: With Him, All Things
By Phee Paradise
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I sat by my husband on an upholstered bench in the hospital lounge, waiting for the news that would end our hope. Our son lay in the intensive care ward and we didn’t know why.
“He’s had a stroke and we haven’t been able to control the bleeding in his brain. I’m sorry, but his chances are slim.”
The doctor had stooped down to speak at our level and her eyes were soft with compassion. But the words were harsh, and they followed a diagnosis of leukemia. Tears streamed down my face while I stared at my hands, clenched in my lap as if the pressure could stop his bleeding.
They let us see him then. He lay unmoving, but not at peace. Tubes and wires connected him to monitors we learned to read . . . heart rate, oxygen level, blood pressure. . . the only signs of life.
We inhabited the hospital for three days, standing by him when they let us, sitting with friends and family when they didn’t. I held his hand and told him how much I needed him and when I couldn’t bear it anymore, I sat in a chair and covered my face with my hands, a barrier for the tears I couldn’t stop. When all comfort had failed, I sat in the stairwell with my Bible and cried out to the God who had made his weak, sick body. We anxiously waited for reports from the daily cat scans, but the bleeding continued.
On the fourth day the elders of our church came to anoint him with oil and pray for his healing. I felt hope rise when our pastor read a passage from Romans.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:32
The next day the neurologist came into the lounge with a smile. The bleeding had stopped and he had ordered the sedation ended. He didn’t know what damage had been done, but he would test his brain function. He came back later with a bigger smile.
“He’s in there.”
We went in to see him, but he still lay unmoving. I took his hand, and joy surged when he squeezed my hand. Then his eyes opened into little slits. He had returned to us. My heart danced and I wanted to run to the rooftop to shout the news to the world.
“My son is going to live.”
He gradually got better, and came home after weeks in rehabilitation. He learned to walk again, and to feed himself, and to tie his shoes. He took a college class and earned an A.
And then, on September 11, he entered the hospital for a bone marrow transplant. I ached for him as his hair fell out and the treatment sapped his strength. My joy leaked away and I desperately clung to hope.
He was home before Christmas with a weak immune system, so we bought an artificial tree and skipped the large family celebration at his grandmother’s house. We left him home alone while we went to church, but I couldn’t grasp the wonder of the baby’s birth.
Bitterness rose in my throat as I thought, “Where is the joy? He was born to die.”
But my son got better and by Easter he was declared cancer free. He came to church with us and stood by my side to sing triumphant hymns of praise. Joy returned when I heard the scriptures.
“. . . but Mary stood outside the tomb crying.” John 20:11
“The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” Matthew 28:5-6
I finally understood. My heart danced because I had a message to shout to the world from the rooftop.
God’s Son is alive.
Deepest grief and dancing joy within a few short days.
Scripture quotes are from the NIV.
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