Monday, June 3, 2013

What It All Comes Down To... that I haven't got it all figured out just yet.

I haven't really had time. You see, around here we do crisis like pros. It's been that way since I first remember anything at all. One of my first memories, in fact, was my mother walking down a long hallway at a church toward me. I was at a bible camp. She came to tell me they were putting her in the hospital and someone else would be there to pick me up other than her or dad. Truthfully, it's been that way--one medical emergency after another--ever since.

Baba picked me up that day and took me home to get some things I needed and then took me to her house. My mother struggled with her health ever since then with multiple hospitalizations. I learned to sleep in chairs, forge her signature to pay bills (give dad a break...someone had to earn the insurance), clean, take care of my brother, and once I even attended a "parent" conference. I'd alternate nights at the hospital with dad except for that week or so that he and attrition got the raging flu and were banished. That week I made my home at the hospital. I did relief duty several years later on Thanksgiving break from college when everyone was spent. It was just something we learned to do. There's a rhythm to it. A way of life. We each dug our foxholes and learned how to make a life there.

In every way it was like a war. There was the battle we watched tediously whether or not we wanted to. Then there was the time we filled like any soldier between skirmishes. Card games. Music. Reading. Sleeping, etc. We'd dream of meals eaten on actual plates and nights slept in real beds and silence. Pure, smooth, unbeeping silence. We'd pray.

The war on illness is also waged in the soul. This is not to say that all illness is the result of sin in the sense that, for example, you contracted a cold because you lied to someone. Illness exists because we're in a broken world. If you think it isn't broken, then you aren't hanging out in the right places. Or the wrong places. I don't know. But when the hour gets quiet, there is only you alone with your soul's aching. Pleading for this to be the last of it. The end of all life lived out of a back pack and a duffel. The desire to feel completely clean and rested. The desire for the pain of your loved to stop.

After so long, you begin to see the benefits to things you knew nothing about before. The same woman that picked me up the day this all got started almost forty years ago had surgery on Friday. Was I worried? No. You want to know why? If she died during surgery, then she got what she wished for. Go ahead and think me crude. She's ready, people. Losing her mind in bits and pieces and suffering through various surgeries and chemotherapies isn't something I can hope for her. She's got a better place to go to. I'll favor that over most treatments almost any day in her case.

When Beanstalk was born, we refurbished our foxholes and made room for more. Same with Squib. Talk about difficult things to pray for. Suddenly, even the foxholes weren't safe anymore. We proceeded like usual, but with a child? They don't make walls to protect you from the damage of watching them struggle. How those two have emerged as the happiest two kids on the planet is a miracle of epic proportions.

Now Baba is in the hospital and we are back in foxhole mode. Perhaps that's our learning experience. Maybe it's just a safety zone. Whatever it is, I know that this sort of emergent disaster is something I'm more used to than anything else. I want it to end, but I just don't know what I would do with myself if it did. Perhaps we're not supposed to live any other way. No big, comfy, uneventful lives. It's just possible that we are to be taking care of each other like this. It's hard. Brutal. Exhausting.'s THE thing that matters to them at the time. THE thing that matters, period.

You aren't living life if you don't get it on you.

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