My sister-in-law, Tracey, has been spending her days and nights at the hospital allowing Christa and I chances to escape for a quick meal or a walk or me to come home the past two nights. Tracey has been amazing supportive and helpful, spending her days in the quiet room down the hallway (working on her dissertation for her Ph. D.) and checking in from time to time to see how she can be helpful.
While being at home has been quite rejuvenating for the kids (Henri dropped his backpack just inside the back gate each night upon arriving home and headed for the swings. I think his therapy is found in swinging right now.), it has been quite challenging for me. Christa has been saying over and over the past few days how she feels like we're in a little bubble in the hospital--safe, protected, cared for, without the demands of maintaining a home. Being home, I find myself surrounded by all of the makings of a life well lived--laundry in various stages, paperwork, kids' items here and there.
When I've arrived home each night it's been interesting to see how quickly I shift from "being" mode to "doing" mode. At the hospital yesterday afternoon, I laid next to Chloe as we watched a movie and she napped. In an effort not to wake her I stayed there for at least two hours, maybe three, without any inner rumblings to jump up and do something. Being at home the past two nights, I've stayed up late and gotten up early just to get one more thing done. We have lots of people willing to help but knowing what to tell them to do is still challenging.
I'd appreciate prayer to help me to let go of getting things done and allow myself just to take care of family and myself. The latter is tricky, I always ignore my own needs (like sleep the past two nights) and then that usually impacts those around me pretty quickly.
Yet, amidst the stress of returning home for brief visits, there are so many blessings as I see and feel the love of friends in little words and deeds. Upon returning home on Sunday our trash was already on the curb and Adriann was in our kitchen gathering laundry. Yesterday as I rushed off to the hospital expecting news (hurry up and wait), I left a sink full of suds and dirty dishes. They were in the drying rack when I got home last night. I had also left the windows open hoping the house would cool off a little and thought it would be fine as I watched the first set of storm clouds blow north of us, not knowing there was larger storm coming in off the lake. Ellen saved the day by mopping up the mess and washing Chloe's bedding that got soaked.
Over the past few days, the moments of tears have not been those times when discussing diagnoses and treatments. They have been those times when reading well-wishes from friends and realizing how much we are surrounded by God's love. Yesterday morning while driving back to the hospital by myself, I tried listening to NPR. It was just noise, I couldn't follow it. So I turned on a CD. I had been listening to At the Table by Ordinary Time, a gift from some friends. The first song that came on was actually the last on the CD, a benediction, call May God Keep You. As I listened to the words, the tears started flowing and wouldn't stop. I'll close with those words as a blessing to us all...
- May God Keep You (Psalm 150)
- May God keep you on your road; Send blessings upon your head; May Jesus share your heavy load; And bring you peace and rest; May his face shine down upon you; May you feel His grace; May He never remove His steadfast love from you.
- Let everything that has breath; Praise His holy name; Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him all that He creates; Praise Him in His sanctuary; Praise Him all the earth; Praise Him throughout all the ages for His faithfulness.
- from At The Table, released 01 December 2009 Words and Music: Peter La Grand
[If you're reading an email version of this, you can listen to the song through the embedded player below on the blog.]