Thursday, August 18, 2011

God's grace?

 I'm astounded. Every time I pick up this book, her words echo my own so similarly. Wasn't I just saying that life is meant to be savored one bite at a time?  I underline her words,

"When did I stop thinking life was dessert? [...]  The fast have spiritually slow hearts. [...] Life is dessert— too brief to hurry. You don't wolf it down."

It's as if she's reading my mind. I've read her blog for years. I remember talk of a book in works, saw the news that it had been published, saw countless entries of excited readers posting photos of themselves clutching their own copy. Inwardly I shrugged. Probably just another one of those fluff pieces for women. Part of me wishes I would have snatched this book up the moment it came on the market, but God knew. He knew I needed it now.

I flip several pages into chapter five where she tells of a day that begins by enjoying the beauty of a hummingbird interrupted by the words of her oldest son, "Levi's hand went through a fan at the barn."  Fears rush through her body as the runs barefoot toward the barn thinking of those heavy fan blades and the damage it could do- hack a boys hand off.  When she returns home from the ER with her son, his hand carefully wrapped in bandages, her mother is waiting— her mother, who knows what its like to not just have your child injured, but buried.

His hand is intact. He'll need surgery on his right index finger, but he has a hand.  Her mom whispers, "God's grace, God's grace," and the question flies wildly through Ann's mind.

"And a slippery question serpentines up me, nearly shakes my tongue with its words but I refuse it. Refuse the opening of lips to the wondering. But the words still come quiet, hard and black, squeezing me tight.
     And if his hand had been right sheared off?
     What of God's grace then?
     Can I ask that question?"

I read those words again. Again. Again.  I'm not the only one who has thought these things, I think with a sigh of guilty relief.
   Praise the Lord, it's not cancer.
   Praise the Lord, the brain mass is gone.
   Praise the Lord, her heart has grown a fourth chamber.
   Praise the Lord.
   God's grace.

But what if it had been cancer?
What if the brain mass had continued to grow, still undiagnosed (they still, to this day, have no idea what it was). It still could happen.
What if Evangeline's heart had not been completed in those final months before her birth?
What if she would have died shortly after her birth?
What if God would have chosen to take them both?
Praise the Lord?
God's grace?

No, no one would have dared utter those things thing. I long to talk to a friend.  All these years later, has she come to a place where she can whisper those words as she recalls the day three of her children were ripped from her grasp in one swoop?

That year, 2010, everyone kept telling us we were so strong.  I kept thinking, "It's easy to be strong when my children are alive. Take them from me, then you'll see me crumble."

These are heavy thoughts weighing on a heavy heart.  There's so much sadness in this world. So much emptiness. How do I really praise God in the storm?

I don't know, but I'm praising Him now.

My husband comes home. Evie instantly wakes at the sound of his voice.  The kids are flipping through playing cards in an effort to figure out how I performed my latest card trick. He plops down on the couch and asks about my day. Today I smile, really smile.  I excitedly tell him about all the beauty.  The broken LUGN bowl and the red high heels, Evie's unsteady steps on the walkway outside, the playdough masterpieces and children playing tag.  He begins to smile too. He's weary and it begins to fall away as he too soaks up the moments with our children.

A couple mornings before he had asked, "How's your heart?"
"Healing," I whispered in return.
And it is.

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