Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 261 - Comfort... my people

I wanted to include these pics in the last blog post but I forgot to put them in so I figured I'd just wait til the next one.

Those were happy times. I feel like I've already forgotten what it felt like to be back there... but it doesn't mean that I've forgotten what it feels like to be happy. I look at us and it feels like a lifetime ago.

Underneath those smiles... could you have seen the heartache? the fear? the brain tumor that threatened to destroy the love that I had waited a lifetime for?

For those few days, we put all of that on hold and simply celebrated our union and enjoyed the life we still had to share. Thank you to those of you who still read this... who made it out on such short notice... who gave so willingly, so lavishly, and so sacrificially to gift us our wedding. I had never seen unity of God's people shine so brightly than those few days last year. Magical.


A quote from my Bible reading guide:

There is a direct connection between what we believe and how we behave.

A quote from Streams in the Desert:

There is a perfect passivity that is not laziness. It is a living stillness born of trust. Quiet tension is not trust but simply compressed anxiety.

How do you know by looking at someone whether or not they are in perfect passivity or quiet tension? Can you tell by the look on their face? Can you tell by their actions? I think only God knows what's happening on the inside. Glimpses may arise here and there but two people can do the exact same thing and one person's heart is fully wholesome and the other might be quietly resentful. Both may have a smile on the exterior. You really can't know completely, therefore you really can't judge accurately.

I had a "moment" the other day at work. A large part of what I do as a nurse is assess. I take notice of things and I ask questions accordingly. I had a patient who was wiping their face with a wet towel the first time I came into the room. I took notice. I was in the patient's room again at a later time... slowly pushing a medication into the IV. I was standing there for maybe a minute or two and I noticed that she had found some tissue to wipe her face with instead of the towel. Since I was standing there, I asked her how long her eyes had been watery. She said, "not long". And then she blew her nose. And then it dawned on me that while I had been assessing for symptoms of disease processes and physiologic abnormalities, I had failed to realize the emotional significance of the lacrimal leakage. My patient was crying.


In my defense, it was more like a slow leak rather than convulsion-inducing sobs. After I realized my silly goof, I moved away from physiological assessment into psychosocial mode... I became a normal person again for her. I apologized and asked if she would like to talk. She declined. I could tell over the course of my shift that it took her a little while to warm up to me and then she started asking me questions. Among other things, she asked if I was married. I said no. She asked if I was dating. I said no. She said, "good". (err?) I said that I was married before. And she said, "oh then you know what I'm talking about". And then I got kinda sad as she revealed little bits and pieces of herself to me. I never would have known though, had I not asked, had she not responded... had she not been leaking from her eyes.

My heart went out to her but I'm not sure if she could tell. There is a direct connection between what we believe and how we behave but how it's received... it's hard to say whether or not the message gets across. Between me and God though... I know I cared for her and so does He. And that gives me peace.

I found out yesterday that one of my classmates passed away in a car accident last week. I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I knew there was a spot in the middle of my chest that felt a little heavier than normal, but I did not cry. It felt a little bit like being stuck. Having feelings but not really knowing what they were or what to do about them. A few hours later... I read this:

The all-wise God, who controls the universe, always knows what is best.

We are tempted at times to think that death has come at the wrong time, especially when a child is left without a mother, or when children die at a young age. Familiar as we are with death, the ways of God regarding it often seem strange to us. But, without a doubt, God never abandons His children. By faith He leads us to look beyond our grief and trust in His wisdom and His tender love to comfort our broken spirit. Wherefore comfort one another with these words (I Thess. 4:18).

Death for the Christian is a promotion from this world's suffering to a welcome home by our wonderful Lord. Soon, God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away (Rev. 21:4).

At times we all need comfort. This is especially true during experiences of distress and grief when a loved one dies. Those of us who have lost loved ones know what a word of compassion can mean. As we see others suffering, let us also remember that our Heavenly Father has commanded: Comfort . . . My people (Is. 40:1).

Last, but not least, the death of loved ones makes heaven all the more precious for we who remain. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (Ps. 116:15). The words of our Savior are most comforting: Let not your heart be troubled. . . . I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:1,3).

I felt better after reading this. It helped put into words the emotions I felt. Some counter-intuitive blend of flesh and spirit... sadness and peace... the desire to reach out and hold back all at the same time. Now that it's mostly identified... what happens next will put into action what I believe.

I don't think I can provide much as far as words of comfort for every person I encounter who's mourning a loss. I wasn't even that close to this classmate who passed away, but something in me wants to do something for her family... or something... I haven't figured out yet what to do. Regardless of whether or not I have the right words or the perfect card or the timely touch... I have within me a heart of compassion that moves with the ebb and flow of the people, the situations and the circumstances around me... while remaining anchored to the Rock to which I cling.

K. Tired. Sleep. Then back to the hospital. Sleep. Then back to the hospital again.

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