I was looking in your laundry room for the snowflake pillowcase Arthur asked me to bring to you at the hospital today. Instead I found the shirt you wore the last time you picked me up at the airport and crumbled. I went for a seat outside.
After a bit, a buzzing caught my attention and noticed a humming bird playing under the slide—its body shimmering color like the green of the leaves and the blue of the sky. Wings at work, yet effortless. It flitted off to the hoop, then to the swing-set. As a child would put a broken toy in her father’s hands, trusting him to fix it, can’t I put these fears in God’s?
Ten days following your surgery, things are not going as planned—as we had planned, as the surgeon had led us to plan. A surgeon’s work, in all its intricacies, is but one important part of God’s orchestration in all this. I want to trust that, but I get caught up in my emotions.
A friend’s words reminded me this morning that God uses all things for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose.* I imagine these words might ring a tad hollow in the midst of your nausea and pain. Do they? Maybe not—your faith has always inspired mine. But don’t worry if they do, you are once removed from the ability to feel their comfort at this time. And yet, still, we are certain: God is with us. How does that work?
The hummingbird had reminded me of His Presence, but now a barking dog steals that assurance. On and on it yips and snarls. I wait long enough to start worrying all over again. I stay in my chair, frustration mounting and before long, it is silenced, my thoughts immobile.
I feel the breeze then and notice the heat of the sun on my cheek and know that the Spirit is hovering over you, the Son, holding you in His arms. He knows your agony—His dearest share His deepest. You are safe, Joan.
I get up and go back to the laundry room to find that pillowcase. It isn’t there. I go into the bedroom and find that Arthur has slipped it on the pillow where he has slept. I understood then. As you sleep apart on your snowflake pillowcases, you stay connected. He will bring home the one you’ve been using tonight to wash and I will bring the other to you today, the one where he has rested his head.
I reach for it and see your face. Really, for a moment I think you are there, but then realize it is your daughter—one, and then two of them—asleep on your bed, the snowflake pillow between them.
We are all connected Joan. We are all with you.
The dog remains quiet now but the birdsong continues. The sun is rising in the sky, making it apparent that the day will be warm after a week of chill and rain.
I wish you were coming home today, but you are not. So just as we would place tangled balls of yarn in Grandma’s hands to unwind all those years ago, we will place our tangled fears in God’s Hands. Will He not tend to them any less than Grandma did our balls of yarn?
I open Mom’s Bible to Psalm 57 where I find written in the margin her handwriting, memorized on February 14, 2010. She had underlined verses 1-3 and 5. Did she know then, someplace in her heart, that we would need these words today:
I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purpose for me. He sends from heaven and saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me; God sends his love and his faithfulness. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.
As the wings of the hummingbird flutter, as the Dove lands at my feet and now sits above staring down at me, I am convinced, that all of heaven is working for your good. So lay your head on the snowflake pillowcase, Joanie, and rest. Assured.
God is with us. Yes, that changes our perspective. We just need to wait and see. Until then: He will hold you fast.