“Surely the lowborn are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie.
If weighed on a balance,
they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.”
The days. In single form: some drain, some energize. As the sum of hours: culminating in weeks, months and years hopefully a rich, rewarding blink.
I had transferred the “to do” from successive lists since early 2017. I finally was able to cross it off last week. But, the return reply sobered me.
I had asked for updates on things mentioned earlier this year. I offered brief updates on my world. Then someone called. The same reason I hadn’t written in so many months was now cutting short the communique of the moment. I hastily finished the note by stating “someone is calling, literally.” I hit send. There, one thing off the “to do” list.
This friend’s response included some benign, newsy updates, but I was shaken by his third paragraph. Only the night before he’d said to his wife, “my world is fast shrinking, having neither classes nor colleagues. You should feel very blessed that people are calling you, literally. And they have no idea how blessed they are by having you to call! Send out a message telling them I said so! :) “
And so, here I am. Sending out the message, hoping it perfuses.
You, of course, were not the originally intended audience for that statement. The one who was calling, oh, the deep anguish.
I invite you in to the intimate blink.
I spent the majority of last week sitting with two dear friends. She delivered their baby via C-section only six days before the call. He was admitted, could I please come to be with them?
Four more long days until I stood at his NICU bassinet wondering which of his breaths were his actual last as they came so very infrequently. He did not cry, he had been mostly silent for many days. The doctor had spoken the truth and the parents walked to the bedside to say good-bye. But, then the father said, “Well, we will go and you can stay, Auntie Mary.”
I was horrified! Not because I would be left alone with a dying child, but because the parents would miss his last moments on this side of heaven. I begged them to stay and I touched his body, speaking the truth of God’s love over him. The parents followed and I believe that their words, touch, song enveloped the baby in peace as he went to our loving Father.
The silent, streaming tears and then the business of readying ourselves to begin the next long journey.
The stares of each and every mama that sat inside and outside the NICU; the stares of every new mama as we dragged ourselves numbly through the open maternity ward; the beds laden with sheets, blankets, babies suckling, shook us repeatedly to our fresh loss. We had walked past these mamas numerous times, now we walked differently.
I financially cleared at the accounts office. They physically cleared the room. Then, in less than 10 minutes we were at their home. The receiving of mourning friends and now the far from silent wailing of the mother, my friend.
Less than three hours later the seven hour drive to the father’s home began.
One family offered their large comfortable car for the transport. A young single man offered himself as the driver. A beloved friend, tribe-mate and colleague offered to accompany. Two nurses from the hospital supported with their presence. Friends gave extra funds to facilitate any need along the way.
As the vehicle left view, we piled in cars for home and to prepare for our early morning leave time. The burial was the next day at 2 p.m. We would leave at 5 a.m.
I won’t go into the rest of the exhausting details.
In the past eleven years we have walked roads of grief, pain, loss. Of joy, exuberance, victory, celebration. A blink. Truly.
How have I postured myself? When at His feet, humbly aware of both my smallness and my immense value, victory. When backed turned, very unaware of both my haughtiness and my need, grief.
There is gripping remorse when I realize afresh that I have thought myself God.
Reality is nothing I have done in these past eleven years of any worth have I done on my own.
It is privilege to be called. It is grace to be the one to whom they reach. But, it is not me.
May there be nothing of me that says, ME!
Deep breath. Selah. In Him. Breathe again.
And in that moment, another call.
The levity is needed. “Can you come see this “thing” on my leg? The clinic says it is not a boil, but some kind of bite. Are you able to come tell me what you think?”
I gather. Myself and things—band-aids, gauze, ointments, peroxide, alcohol, antibiotics.
I walk. After the sitting, the waiting, the driving, the grieving. I need to walk.
The dog follows, she always does.
Wow. That “thing” is massive! Trial and error. I completely occlude it with ointment on the chance we’re dealing with a mango fly larvae. (sorry, that is the stuff of life here, turn away if you must.) I heat water as we wait in case nothing wiggles and instead we need the warm compress with baking soda.
The heat of the infection melts the ointment. We reapply more heavily and we wait. . .
Finally, the worm emerges just enough for tweezers to conquer. I dress the gaping chasm left behind.
|"Good morning! How are you? I'm Dr. Worm"|
Yuck, really, truly, yuck.
Amid the variety of demand I am thankful to be called. In the days of drain, the days of mango worms, the calls are life. They fuel relationships.
Thank you LORD, for the opportunities you give.
I will close as my friend, catalyst for this blog, closed his email, “So here's to God's leading for both of us, and for each member of your family. And for those you serve. In this crazy world (crazier by the day), we are in such need of his leading.”