“What is that?” She said it several times, as we tried to tell her it was the ceiling fan that she was looking at.
She had been at home for two days since being admitted into hospice care, and really hadn’t said anything coherent for longer than that. The pain in her head had been overwhelming and made it hard to talk. Even thinking seemed to hurt her. But now her eyes were wide open and she was looking up from her bed and asking what she was seeing. And clearly it wasn’t the ceiling fan.
“Wow, oh wow!” Over and over, with awe and surprise she said it in a way that made us wish she would say more. “Oh, my gosh!” This she said not with fear or dread but with an expression that she would have used for an unbelievable sunset or some other one-of-a-kind experience.
It had been excruciating watching her, such a beautiful, generous, loving person, go through the agony of cancer treatment. Even worse, when the treatment stopped working and the pain increased, along with uncontrollable and incapacitating symptoms, we wondered how God would explain why it was happening this way. All along, we kind of knew God wouldn’t explain but would just say that he knew and he was there. It was hard, mostly because we always think we can understand. We’re reasonable people.
At last she had seen something and it occurred to me that she was now much closer to understanding than any of the rest of us. She was seeing something that took away fear, and seemed to give her peace. Maybe what she saw made all the pain make sense, or at least made it worth going through. She seemed thankful, and at rest.
And now, I’m very curious. And I’m thankful and more convinced than ever that God will prove himself good.
I typed that and realized immediately that it wasn’t true. I am quite sick today but in spite of it, there is fun to be had in resting, reading, doing quiet things that never get done while I’m able to work. I’m having fun being sick, who would have thought…
Before anyone gets envious let me say that it’s difficult to concentrate when my head hurts, throat hurts, chest rattles with every breath and the aches and pains of fever make me feel weak. This feels more like pneumonia than anything I’ve ever had before and it came on very fast. Most likely I will recover but just in case, I want to say that it is very freeing to realize that things go on without me. I know some people feel like they cannot take a day off when they are sick, or for any other reason, because they are indispensable. Well, nobody is indispensable. I’m glad I’m not. I stayed home from everything today and plan the same for tomorrow. Nobody wants to be exposed to what I’ve got. Staying home when one is sick is a way to show love to others.
In between naps I’m getting some reading done, catching up on my blog reader, cleaning out my inbox, and thinking. How glad I am that I am here in my own bedroom rather than in Cambodia like I was last year when I got sick. How strange that it has happened two years in a row after many years of not being ill. Hmm…
I’m especially thinking how God uses sickness in my life to remind me that I am not in control, to increase my compassion for others, to get me quiet and listening, I’m not afraid of being sick, whether it leads to recovery or not. I love being here on earth, but I would also love not being here. Thinking about dying is not a fearful thing, and I thank God for that. As I get older my most common thought about dying is wondering how it will happen. Accident? Cancer? Pneumonia? I have preferences but they are between me and God, and I doubt I’ll get to choose. I think it’s very wise of him not to let me know ahead of time.
This is kind of a stupid post and I’m not terribly proud of it, but having this much time on my hands I had to write something, and these truly are the things I think about while being sick.. Just sayin’…