I did not see that coming. Twice, in fact, I paused in awe within the last seven days.
First, I went to spaghetti-a-plenty night at our local Larosa’s restaurant with the young man who has helped us accomplish countless house tasks over the last two months. He and I have painted wall after wall and multiple ceilings while worship music played. We sang or talked about life along the way while occasionally saying we’d go get spaghetti when the list of to-dos were done. He’s done carpentry and plumbing work. The list is long. He’s 26 and he could have chosen to be anywhere. He didn’t know us until he answered a random church text to go help a family in October.
That introduction day surrounded by our mess, he looked deep into my eyes to size up the situation. He promises that he will not leave our family’s side until the house is ready to be put on the market. “I’ll care for you the way I would care for my own mom,” he said. He delivered mercy with a paint brush to my soul.
During dinner he shares, “I look at your husband whose body is broken and it makes me think of how broken I have been on the inside. Through this time with you I am reminded that no matter how his body is failing him that he has everything I’d ever want: a wife and family behind him. Kids that love him. ALS can’t take that. He is more whole than I have felt in a while.”
I see the reflection in this young man’s eyes that his heart is healing and he is moving on with God into the next season of his life. He’s spending time in prayer, scripture, and seeking wisdom. I hope I get to serve punch at his wedding one day.
Second, yesterday Hubby and I went to church. Often this fall we watched online as the home tasks were many and his body struggled. It is Christmas. We want to be inside our church to worship.
Hubby had a rough morning so we need more than the rollator. I quickly load the wheelchair into the trunk. The sun is shining. The car is old but warm. We are smiling. A friend checks in on text and I reply that I feel peace and hope to carry it through the holiday.
And then 10 short minutes later…
As we roll toward the door the gravity of Hubby not being able to walk into church rips open my tear ducts. We can not get into the sanctuary where it is dark fast enough.
I don’t make eye contact with Hubby for the first half of service. I look away to wipe my tears and wonder about my mascara status. I place my hand on his knee. I hope that he will take my hand.
He doesn’t. I can feel his pulse. It’s a strained rhythm like the rhythm happening in my own body so I know he is fighting tears too. Eventually I peek and see his wet eyes. I don’t know if he’s missing our son in the Air Force, missing his mom who passed away this fall, or if it’s the weight of simply everything we face right now.
Releasing my stubbornness, I stop waiting for his hand to move and move my own hand to find his.
I am reminded that whatever brokenness we feel, there are many more who feel angst too. Sometimes the holiday lights amplify pain or grief. For all who suffer right now I lift up this prayer for you.
We praise your name even when times are difficult. Lord, lift up the brokenhearted. Please help the lonely feel your presence this season. Be with those who long for a loved one who has passed. Your Word in Psalm 34:18 says you are near the brokenhearted and we claim that promise right now. Be near us. Bring joy in the simple things. Heal the sick. Give hope to the hurting. Bless the caregivers. Ease suffering. Be with military families near and far. Help all who feel alone to find joy that can only come from you. Wrap everyone with your love and peace.
With love to all,